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Citroën find it difficult to pinpoint lack of pace

Citroën were left mystified after struggling for pace in the wet World Touring Car Championship races at the Moscow Raceway, with the team collecting just one podium finish in Russia.

Reigning champion José María López endured his worst weekend in the WTCC to-date, failing firstly to get through to Q3 in qualifying for only the second time in his career, before then going on to fail to score a podium finish in a WTCC race weekend for the first time since he joined the series in 2013.

Yvan Muller fared little better, picking up a podium in the Opening Race, before sliding to a point-less 11th place finish in the Main Race, with the C-Elysées struggling in the slippery and wet conditions, whilst LADA went on to dominate the weekend.

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“It is hard to find positives in such a difficult weekend,” said Citroën Racing Team Principal Yves Matton. “The drivers gave their all in trying circumstances and Yvan must be congratulated on his podium finish.

“It is tough to pinpoint any one reason for our lack of success: the 80 kg ballast, the weather conditions, the tyres, the circuit itself… It’s probably down to a combination of all of those things, and we are going to have to work to understand what went wrong.

“Well done to the LADA team for their two one-two finishes, in any case. We know how it feels to achieve such results, particularly on home soil!”

Despite enduring his worst-ever WTCC weekend, López has managed to extend his championship lead to a huge 105 points over his nearest rivals Mehdi Bennani and Nicky Catsburg, which the defending champion admits means he can’t call it a bad weekend.

“These two races were really tough,” said López. “The grip deteriorated lap after lap and I wasn’t able to hold our rivals at bay. These things happen. We just need to understand why.

“At the same time, it has not been a bad weekend, as I have widened the gap at the top of the World Championship! I can’t wait to get to Vila Real. It’s a circuit I’m very fond of and I hope to repeat last year’s victory there.”

Muller, meanwhile, was pleased with a podium finish, despite extending his winless run to 12 races, with the Frenchman failing to win so far this season.

“Congratulations to the winners,” added Muller. “They deserve this result. I got a good start in the opening race, which allowed me to take the lead for the first time this season. I quickly realised I wasn’t going to be able to hold off Gabriele [Tarquini] and Nicky [Catsburg].

“I am happy to be on the podium. It’s not the kind of result you dream about, but I’ll take it, given the circumstances. We are going to work hard to draw the necessary conclusions. We cannot put our lack of success down to a single factor.”

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