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Pole for José María López lands Citroën a third manufacturer’s title

By taking pole position in qualifying for the World Touring Car Championship races in Shanghai, new champion José María López and team-mate Yvan Muller, who was third, helped Citroën to secure a third successive manufacturers’ title.

Although seemingly only a formality, a poor qualifying session for Honda, which saw only one Civic make it into the top ten, gave Citroën enough of a points advantage to provisionally secure the title.

It means that the French manufacturer has secured every title possible since joining the WTCC in 2014, and the marque leaves the WTCC at the end of the year undefeated in terms of titles.

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Citroën Racing Team Principal Yves Matton says that in doing so, the brand achieved everything that they set out for in the championship.

“With this third consecutive FIA WTCC world title, we have achieved our goal and we can end our involvement in the competition with the feeling that we have accomplished what we set out to,” said Matton. “We are very proud to have won the championship in China, Citroën’s premier global market.

“We knew that things would be tricky for us in 2016, with just two official cars, regulations that worked against us and rivals that would up their game. The whole team has worked calmly and methodically to get the very most out of the car and the drivers.

“The SLR [Sébastien Loeb Racing] team is part of this success too. Alongside José María López and Yvan Muller, Mehdi Bennani and Tom Chilton have brought us invaluable points, particularly in the reverse-grid races.”

Matton also praised Muller’s efforts, after he recently announced he would retire from the sport at the end of the year. With the Frenchman taking three points for third, and his nearest rivals netting none, he moves into a standalone second overall in the standings.

“Today’s result was really positive for Yvan, who took the points for third place, while his rivals finished much further down. Before we celebrate this new title, Citroën’s sixteenth, we are going to focus on the races to try and add to our win tally.”

New provisional champion López took his sixth pole of the season, and extended his lead at the top of the standings. The Argentine was quick to praise the success of his Citroën team.

“First of all, I would like to congratulate Citroën Racing on their third consecutive title,” said López. “I feel lucky to be part of this team. I have learnt a lot from working with them and their work makes my job behind the wheel so much easier!

“As we expected, Nick [Catsburg, P2] produced a really good Q3 lap and I took all the risks I could to dislodge him from pole position. Sometimes, going out last means you can play it tactically, but that wasn’t so much the case today.

“It’s going to be a big day for us tomorrow. We’ll have to keep on attacking to win here.”

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