Citroën Racing Team Principal Yves Matton says his team have “written a new chapter in Citroën motorsport history” after drivers for the marque secured a 1-2-3-4-5 in the first World Touring Car Championship (WTCC) race in Marrakech.
Race one saw José María López claim his second win of the season, finishing ahead of team-mates Ma Qing Hua and Sébastien Loeb, independent runner Mehdi Bennani, and the fourth works’ C-Elysée of Yvan Muller.
The result marked the first 1-2-3-4-5 result for a brnad, in any capacity, since Chevrolet cars occupied the top five positions in the first race in Shanghai in 2013.
“Our drivers have just written a new chapter in Citroën motorsport history,” said Matton. “Their quintuple success is testament to the speed and reliability of the C-Elysée WTCC, as well as the close-knit nature of our team.
“Pechito [López] and Yvan turned their qualifying results into race wins, while Seb once again showed the progress he has made, with two podium finishes. Qing Hua also put in a good performance, and it’s great to see him showing what he can do like that.
“Congratulations must go to Mehdi Bennani, too. He shone in front of his home crowd and won the private drivers’ trophy.”
Race one was won by López, who moves into a 16-point lead in the drivers’ championship, whilst race two was taken by Yvan Muller from pole position in the reverse-grid race. López was able to come through the field from tenth on the grid to claim the final podium position in the second encounter.
“Thanks to all the team for a fantastic weekend,” said López after extending his points lead over Loeb. “I had to fend Ma off at the start of race one. He was really close, so I had to attack quite hard to open up a bit of a gap.
“Often, I feel quite relaxed after winning the first race. This time, though, I was feeling anxious because I didn’t want to lose too many points against Yvan and Seb. [In race two] I got off to a good start and managed to avoid the accident at the first turn. After that, I gradually made my way up the field and ended up on the podium. It was quite unexpected, but it’s a great result as far as the Championship is concerned.”
Muller’s win in race two was his first since the first race in Belgium back in June 2014, and the Frenchman admits he is relived to stand on the top step of the podium once again.
“I got a good start in race one, and I was careful on the first bend, because I didn’t want to wreck the car and compromise my chances for race two,” explained Muller. “Finishing fifth after starting from so far back on the grid was satisfying.
“Race two was no easier. I had to attack from start to finish, as Seb didn’t let up. Even when I was out in the lead, I constantly had to keep an eye on the temperature of my brakes. I am really happy to get back to winning ways. It had been a long time!”