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Citroën’s rivals ‘have never been closer’

Citroën’s José María López says that the manufacturer’s World Touring Car Championship rivals ‘have never been closer’ after the marque scored just two podiums at the weekend.

Defending champion López extended his lead over Honda’s Tiago Monteiro by just two points in Morocco, as the French marque failed to win a race for the first time this season.

In fact, the meeting marked only the second time since Citroën joined the championship in 2014 that a C-Elysée has not taken victory in one of the two races in a weekend.

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Despite failing to win, López remained upbeat about his weekend in Marrakech, citing the two-point extension of his championship lead to 14 points as reason to be pleased.

“My second place in the opening race was an excellent result given my grid position,” said the Argentine. “The first lap was like a street fight. Thereafter, I knew overtaking would be impossible. I stayed close so as to be ready to seize the slightest opportunity, but I had to manage the tyres and the brakes too.

“In the main race, I managed to get the better of Tiago, but then it was my turn to make a mistake. Still, I’m satisfied with my weekend. The aim was to stretch my lead at the top of the World Championship, and I have done that.

“We mustn’t relax, as our rivals have never been closer to us.”

Citroën Racing Team Principal Yves Matton was pleased with the team’s results, pointing to the marginal gains ni the championship standings as reason to be positive.

“I am satisfied with the team’s overall results,” said Matton. “We might not have won, but this is only the third [sic, it is actually the second] time that has happened to us in twenty-eight FIA WTCC meetings.

“Thanks to solid races from José María López and Yvan Muller, we have conceded only one point in the Manufacturers’ World Championship and we still have a healthy lead. Pechito also strengthened his position in the Drivers’ standings.

“We leave this circuit sorry that there was not more of a spectacle for the Moroccan crowd and delighted that we will soon be tackling the biggest challenge of the year, the Nürburgring and the Nordschleife.”

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