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Sébastien Loeb leads dominant Citroën 1-2-3-4 in France

Sébastien Loeb won the opening World Touring Car Championship (WTCC) race on home soil in France, ahead of Citroën team-mates Yvan Muller, José María López and Ma Qing Hua.

Loeb led a dominant performance from pole position, never being challenged by team-mate Muller after getting off to a strong start. The former rally champion won the race by a comfortable 6.020 seconds to take his fifth win in the championship.

Muller finished second, beating title rival López for the fifth time in six races to further narrow the points gap. The Argentine was forced to settle for third, unable to find a way past Muller. The duo had come close at the start of the race, but Muller put up a staunch defence which pushed López to within millimetres of the pit wall before he had to back out of the move.

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Ma Qing Hua finished fourth, giving Citroën their first 1-2-3-4 result of the season as a works team.

As in qualifying, ROAL Motorsport’s Tom Chilton proved to be the ‘best of the rest’ by finishing in fifth, with the Chevrolet driver having no one to battle with in the race as he struggled to keep pace with the Citroën cars ahead.

Zengő Motorsport’s Norbert Michelisz was the top Honda driver in sixth, the Hungarian getting past Campos Racing’s Hugo Valente on the opening lap. Valente would later retire from the race after picking up damage whilst defending against seventh-placed Tiago Monteiro.

Gabriele Tarquini finished in eighth, making up more places than any driver on the grid with a strong start. The Italian was up to ninth on the opening lap, and battled hard with LADA’s Jaap van Lagen for position.

Sébastien Loeb Racing’s Mehdi Bennani finished in ninth, with the Moroccan forced to put in a recovery drive after losing a handful of position on the opening lap. Bennani got past Van Lagen for position on lap 12, leaving the Dutchman to take the only points finish for LADA in tenth.

Rickard Rydell finished in 11th after passing ROAL Motorsport’s Tom Coronel for the position exiting the final corner on the final lap.

Craft-Bamboo Racing’s Grégoire Demoustier was unable to capitalise on a season-best qualifying result, finishing the race in 13th after battling hard with fellow Chevrolet drivers Stefano D’ASte and John Filippi throughout the race.

Both LADAs of Nicky Catsburg and Rob Huff failed to finish the race. Catsburg was unable to take the start due to problems with the starter motor on his Vesta, although the Dutchman later joined the race after the part was fixed. Huff, however, retired on the opening lap of the race with suspected damage to the suspension on his car following contact with Demoustier at turn two.

Round 14 takes place at 13:00 BST (14:00 CEST).

Race result

1 9 Sébastien LOEB Citroën Total WTCC Citroën C-Elysée WTCC 16 16 LAPS 1:31.148 1
2 68 Yvan MULLER Citroën Total WTCC Citroën C-Elysée WTCC 16 6.02 1:31.531 2
3 37 José María LÓPEZ Citroën Total WTCC Citroën C-Elysée WTCC 16 7.147 1:31.625 3
4 33 MA Qing Hua Citroën Total WTCC Citroën C-Elysée WTCC 16 9.102 1:31.451 4
5 3 Y Tom CHILTON ROAL Motorsport Chevrolet RML Cruze TC1 16 12.638 1:31.662 5
6 5 Y Norbert MICHELISZ Zengő Motorsport Honda Civic WTCC 16 16.032 1:31.731 8
7 18 Tiago MONTEIRO Castrol Honda WTC Team Honda Civic WTCC 16 16.286 1:31.908 7
8 2 Gabriele TARQUINI Castrol Honda WTC Team Honda Civic WTCC 16 20.888 1:32.714 14
9 25 Y Mehdi BENNANI Sébastien Loeb Racing Citroën C-Elysée WTCC 16 27.191 1:32.666 10
10 46 Jaap VAN LAGEN LADA Sport Rosneft LADA Vesta WTCC 16 31.589 1:32.688 9
11 19 Rickard RYDELL Nika International Honda Civic WTCC 16 31.802 1:32.814 17
12 4 Y Tom CORONEL ROAL Motorsport Chevrolet RML Cruze TC1 16 31.822 1:32.807 13
13 11 Y Grégoire DEMOUSTIER Craft-Bamboo Racing Chevrolet RML Cruze TC1 16 38.658 1:32.420 11
14 26 Y Stefano D’ASTE ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport Chevrolet RML Cruze TC1 16 42.028 1:32.727 15
15 27 Y John FILIPPI Campos Racing Chevrolet RML Cruze TC1 16 42.362 1:33.114 18
R 7 Y Hugo VALENTE Campos Racing Chevrolet RML Cruze TC1 4 12 Lp. 1:32.183 6
R 10 Nick CATSBURG LADA Sport Rosneft LADA Vesta WTCC 4 12 Lp. 1:32.328 12
R 12 Rob HUFF LADA Sport Rosneft LADA Vesta WTCC 0 16

Complete race results

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