Five out of five for the Citroën C-Elysée WTCC in Marrakech
For the first time in its motor sport history, Citroën has claimed the top five spots in an international competition.
Race one in Marrakech saw José María López, Ma Qing Hua, Sébastien Loeb, Mehdi Bennani and Yvan Muller dominate proceedings in their Citroën C-Elysée WTCCs. The race two podium was also an all-Citroën affair, with Yvan Muller taking the honours ahead of Sébastien Loeb and José María López.
Encouraged by the balmy weather, spectators flocked to Marrakech’s Moulay El Hassan circuit to witness the third and fourth races of the 2015 FIA World Touring Car Championship.
Race one began in spectacular fashion, with Ma Qing Hua making an explosive start from the second row to pass Mehdi Bennani and draw level with José María López. The two Citroëns were door-to-door going into the first bend, but the Argentine was able to cling onto his lead thanks to his inside position. Sébastien Loeb slipped into third spot, while Yvan Muller moved up several places after avoiding the pile-up at the first turn.
The four Citroëns wasted no time in pulling away from the chasing pack. Qing Hua put pressure on López, and Bennani on Loeb, but the race order remained unchanged. Sébastien Loeb’s task was particularly tough, as his bumper had been damaged in a collision with his rival. Back in the pack, Yvan Muller had got stuck between Tiago Monteiro and Gabriele Tarquini, but the four-time World Champion eventually found a way through to move up into fifth.
In scenes resembling a parade, the first five cars to cross the finish line were all Citroën C-Elysée WTCCs as López, Qing Hua, Loeb, Bennani and Muller made history.
A few minutes later, the cars were back out on the grid for race two. This time, Yvan Muller had no obstacles in his path, starting from pole position. The man from Alsace was still leading at the first bend, with Sébastien Loeb in second. Once again, the first lap saw plenty of commotion in the pack. Behind Muller and Loeb were Chilton, Valente, López, Qing Hua and Bennani.
Yvan Muller and Sébastien Loeb were putting on quite a show out front, with little to separate them. Lap by lap, Valente and Chilton succumbed to the onslaughts of José María López, who worked his way up into third place. Ma Qing Hua, meanwhile, was finding the going tougher: after climbing to fifth, the Chinese driver made a mistake and ran into a safety wall. He was able to resume his race, but finished out of the points.
Yvan Muller, Sébastien Loeb and José María López monopolised the podium for race two, once again securing maximum points for Citroën in the World Drivers’ and Manufacturers’ Championships.