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López: Monteiro’s crash ‘was like a PlayStation accident’

José María López admits that he was ‘very lucky’ to have avoided the crash between Opening Race leaders Tiago Monteiro and Yvan Muller, allowing him to inherit victory in the first World Touring Car Championship race at the Nürburgring Nordschleife.

López was running in third position at the time, in close proximity to team-mate Muller ahead, when Monteiro suffered a high-speed right-front puncture which pitched him into the barriers.

That saw the Honda bounce back into the path of the duo, with López ultimately choosing the right side to go and avoid the accident, allowing him to inherit the win whilst his rivals crashed out.

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Having then gone on to claim the Main Race win from pole position, the reigning champion won both races in a WTCC weekend for the second time in his career.

“Of course if there is a place where you want to win both races, you want to win everywhere but here it’s really special,” said López, who now has a huge 69-point championship lead. “I was very cautious with the celebrations. I like to think you can be a good winner and a good loser and today in the first race I took the profit from an accident; otherwise it was going to be very difficult [to win].

“But it’s also important to be there and the team and everybody showed a fantastic advantage. At first I couldn’t take advantage of the slipstream because Yvan was taking the slipstream of Tiago so even if I was quicker my chances were disappearing because it was very difficult.

“I’m really happy to have the first win and it’s an extremely important boost for the championship for me.”

López admits that he used the experience of avoiding Ma Qing Hua’s crash at the circuit last year when he came upon the accident in the opening race.

“It was spectacular, like a PlayStation accident,” explained López. “I just saw the car hitting the barriers and flying three metres in the air. The only thing that came in my mind was that Ma crashed on the outside and came inside last year. I thought that at the beginning.

“Of course it was a high-speed accident and the inertia of the accident had the potential to bring the car to the inside. So I did that and I passed through [with a] really, really narrow [gap].

“I was very lucky and after that I just tried to finish the race. I actually thought there was one lap to go but it was fantastic to win and to bring a trophy and the points home.

“I’m glad they are okay especially Tiago, that’s the main thing.”

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