The Citroën Total team took a clean sweep of the podium in both of Sunday’s FIA World Touring Car Championship races at the Slovakia Ring in another dominant display for the reigning champions.

Yvan Muller claimed his fourth win of the 2015 season in the opening race, leading home teammates José María López and Sébastien Loeb, while Race 2 saw the podium order reversed with Loeb taking victory for his fourth career win.


Race 1: Muller closes the points gap to López with victory

FIA WTCC Race of Slovakia Race 1

The start of the race saw the fastest three Citroëns make perfect getaways off the grid, with Muller hugging the inside line into Turn 1 and almost managing to box teammate López in behind a faster-starting Loeb, who ran side-by-side on the run to Turn 2 before López slotted into second place between the two Frenchmen.

The trio had a considerable lead over the rest of the field within a matter of a few corners and ran in that order until the chequered flag.

Muller had the edge over the other two, eking our enough of a lead in the early laps before backing off to win by 1.7 seconds. Loeb pressed hard in trying to challenge second-placed López, and crossed the line a further 1.1 seconds behind.

The same could not be said of their teammate Ma Qing Hua, whose clutch slipped at the start before almost stalling as the lights went out. The Chinese driver was lucky not to be rear-ended by those behind him, and he put in a spirited recovery drive to be on the fringes of a points finish before his team elected to retire him in the hope of repairing his car in time for Race 2.

Rob Huff finished fourth place in his LADA Vesta, and was the sole finisher for the Russian outfit after teammates Nicky Catsburg (power steering) and Jaap van Lagen (an apparent coming together with Mehdi Bennani) were both forced to retire on Lap 8.

Hugo Valente continued to maintain his position as the best of the RML Chevrolet drivers, finishing in fifth after fending off Gabriele Tarquini’s Honda for the entire race.

Tom Chilton had a quiet run to seventh place in his ROAL Motorsports Chevrolet, with he and teammate Tom Coronel sandwiching the second works Honda of Tiago Monteiro, who made a blistering start from the rear of the grid.

Aside from the out-of-position Citroëns of Ma and Bennani, it was a race that featured little in the way of overtaking on the passing-unfriendly Slovakia Ring.

Series debutante and reigning Argentine Super TC2000 champion Néstor Girolami – standing in for Rickard Rydell this weekend – put a late move on Stefano D’Aste’s Münnich Motorsport Chevrolet to claim the final points position in an impressive first outing in the NIKA Racing Honda.

Just twelve cars finished the opening race, with the last being local driver Mat’o Homola, who lost two laps in the pits while his Campos Racing mechanics investigated a problem with his Chevrolet.


2015 FIA WTCC Race of Slovakia – Race 1 Final Classification (11 laps)
Driver Team / Entry Laps Result
1. Yvan Muller fr Citroën Total WTCC C-Elysée 11 23:19.032
2. José María López Citroën Total WTCC C-Elysée 11 + 1.749
3. Sébastien Loeb Citroën Total WTCC C-Elysée 11 + 2.868
4. Rob Huff uk LADA Sport Rosneft Vesta WTCC 11 + 12.282
5. Hugo Valente Campos Racing Chevrolet RML Cruze 11 + 16.882
6. Gabriele Tarquini it Honda Racing Team JAS Civic WTCC 11 + 17.194
7. Tom Chilton uk ROAL Motorsport Chevrolet RML Cruze 11 + 21.737
8. Tiago Monteiro Honda Racing Team JAS Civic WTCC 11 + 25.131
9. Tom Coronel nl ROAL Motorsport Chevrolet RML Cruze 11 + 27.040
10. Néstor Girolami NIKA Racing Honda Civic WTCC 11 + 34.695
11. Stefano D’Aste it Münnich Motorsport Chevrolet RML Cruze 11 + 41.017
12. John Filippi Campos Racing Chevrolet RML Cruze 11 + 45.612
13. Mat’o Homola Campos Racing Chevrolet RML Cruze 9 + 2 laps
Not Classified Team / Entry Laps Result
DNF. Ma Qing Hua Citroën Total WTCC C-Elysée 8 Clutch
DNF. Nick Catsburg nl LADA Sport Rosneft Vesta WTCC 8 Steering
DNF. Mehdi Bennani Sébastien Loeb Racing Citroën C-Elysée 8 Collision
DNF. Jaap van Lagen nl LADA Sport Rosneft Vesta WTCC 8 Collision
DNF. Norbert Michelisz Zengõ Motorsport Honda Civic WTCC 7 Puncture
DNF. Grégoire Demoustier Craft-Bamboo Racing Chevrolet RML Cruze 1 Mechanical

Race 2: Loeb claims fourth career win

FIA WTCC Race of Slovakia Race 2

The Slovakia Ring wasn’t expected to be a track that would have suited the Citroëns, but clearly the French team didn’t read the form guide with another dominant display in the second race.

Good starts have been something that has periodically hampered the C-Elysées, but that too seemed to be a thing of the past as Loeb, López and Muller all made blinding getaways from eighth, ninth and tenth on the grid to be second, third and fourth by the end of the opening lap of the race.

His clutch problems unable to be solved in between the two races, poor Ma Qing Hua again crept on the start line before stalling, and came within millimetres of being collected by an unsighted Néstor Girolami. Only lightning quick reactions from the Argentine prevented a collosal shunt as the NIKA Honda driver skated onto the grass in avoidance.

Front-row starter Gabriele Tarquini managed to jump Jaap van Lagen’s LADA off the line, leaving the Dutchman to be shoved out of the way through the opening corners by the faster-starting Citroëns which carved their way into the top-four like the proverbial hot knife through butter.

Van Lagen was also demoted by Hugo Valente’s Chevrolet, and would cross the line in the Frenchman’s wheeltracks in sixth place. Valente claimed back-to-back class wins in the Independent Trophy category, but Norbert Michelisz remains out in front despite a difficult weekend.

Like Huff in Race 1, he was the sole finisher for LADA, with the Briton sidelined when a huge stone punctured his radiator and teammate Nicky Catsburg pulling into the pits with recurrent power steering dramas.

Hopes of a victory for Tarquini were futile, with his Honda Civic – weighed down by 60kg of success ballast – never standing a chance against the chasing Citroëns behind him. Loeb was through into the lead on Lap 2, while López and Muller went by the Italian a lap later.

The three again stretched their legs, with Loeb in particular looking on song en route to a fine win.

López was struggling to keep a quicker Muller – whose car was clearly handling better through the Slovakia Ring’s corners – at bay, but Muller ultimately ran out of tyre grip and faded to finish 4.5 second behind the defending champion. The points gap between the two extended to 30 points as a result, although on the basis of recent results, it would appear that Muller has the upper hand.

Yokohama Trophy points leader Norbert Michelisz crossed the line in eighth place – surviving a clumsy passing move by fellow Honda runner Tiago Monteiro – while Tom Coronel fended off Néstor Girolami to claim the final point on offer.

Next weekend will see the FIA WTCC field head to Citroën’s home turf at Paul Ricard for the penultimate round of the European leg of the season.


2015 FIA WTCC Race of Slovakia – Race 2 Final Classification (11 laps)
Driver Team / Entry Laps Result
1. Sébastien Loeb Citroën Total WTCC C-Elysée 11 23:26.146
2. José María López Citroën Total WTCC C-Elysée 11 + 3.188
3. Yvan Muller fr Citroën Total WTCC C-Elysée 11 + 7.626
4. Gabriele Tarquini it Honda Racing Team JAS Civic WTCC 11 + 12.144
5. Hugo Valente Campos Racing Chevrolet RML Cruze 11 + 16.266
6. Jaap van Lagen nl LADA Sport Rosneft Vesta WTCC 11 + 16.634
7. Mehdi Bennani Sébastien Loeb Racing Citroën C-Elysée 11 + 18.793
8. Norbert Michelisz Zengõ Motorsport Honda Civic WTCC 11 + 30.442
9. Tiago Monteiro Honda Racing Team JAS Civic WTCC 11 + 30.691
10. Tom Coronel nl ROAL Motorsport Chevrolet RML Cruze 11 + 31.666
11. Néstor Girolami NIKA Racing Honda Civic WTCC 11 + 32.150
12. Stefano D’Aste it Münnich Motorsport Chevrolet RML Cruze 11 + 40.429
13. Grégoire Demoustier Craft-Bamboo Racing Chevrolet RML Cruze 11 + 42.916
14. John Filippi Campos Racing Chevrolet RML Cruze 11 + 45.517
15. Mat’o Homola Campos Racing Chevrolet RML Cruze 11 + 45.690
Not Classified Team / Entry Laps Result
DNF. Tom Chilton uk ROAL Motorsport Chevrolet RML Cruze 8 Puncture
DNF. Nick Catsburg nl LADA Sport Rosneft Vesta WTCC 8 Steering
DNF. Rob Huff uk LADA Sport Rosneft Vesta WTCC 8 Radiator
DNF. Ma Qing Hua Citroën Total WTCC C-Elysée 7 Clutch

Images via FIA WTCC Media

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Richard Bailey

Founder & Chief Editor at MotorsportM8
Hasn't missed a Grand Prix since 1989. Has a soft spot for Minardi. Tattooed with 35+ Grand Prix circuits.

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