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José María López expecting to suffer in Slovakia

Citroën’s José María López is expecting to struggle in the World Touring Car Championship at the Slovakiaring this weekend, citing the 80 kg of extra compensation weight that the marque have to carry over their opposition.

López was the fastest Citroën driver in a dry first practice session at the Slovakian circuit, but even then was over a second off the pace set by the new Volvo.

Despite taking victory in the season opener in France two weeks ago, López believes this weekend’s meeting around the substantially longer track in Slovakia will be different.

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“First of all, it’s good to be back in Slovakia,” said López. “Our car is a bit heavy but that’s the way it is and we are trying to do our best.

“We know it’s the first two races for us that are really important. We have to keep up and minimise the loss of the weight. We saw a very interesting weekend in Paul Ricard, it was a very close fight and it was very difficult. As I said there it was very impressive to see the team work and overcome these 80 kilos.

“Slovakia is different and I think we should be suffering a bit more. It’s a longer track so it’s going to be harder for the tyres.

“I expect we’re going to have a difficult job but we’ll still be fighting and after Hungary the weight will change a bit so we will try to do our best.”

López was not the only Citroën driver to struggle in first practice, with team-mate Yvan Muller in 12th and almost two seconds off the pace.

None of the independently-entered Sébastien Loeb Racing Citroën drivers broke into the top ten, with Tom Chilton the fastest of the trio in 14th.

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