MOSCOW RACEWAY (05-07 JUNE 2015) – PREVIEW
With no test sessions to occupy them since the Nürburgring, each Citroën driver has done his own thing over recent weeks. While Ma Qing Hua headed for Shanghai to catch up with his friends and savour his beloved Chinese cuisine, Yvan Muller prepared for his participation in the Rallye du Chablais in a DS 3 R5. Last week, José María López was to be found in the paddock at the Monaco GP as a consultant for FOX Sports. And after a few days’ rest with his family, Sébastien Loeb will be in Haguenau on Saturday 30 May for the official opening of the sports complex that bears his name!
On Thursday, they will all converge on the Russian circuit to start busily preparing for the fifth round of the WTCC season. With three pole positions, four Race-1 victories and three Race-2 podium spots to his name, José María López has a near-perfect record so far. The Argentine driver’s consistency has enabled him to build a 50-point cushion between himself and his nearest rival. Barring a dramatic turn of events, the reigning World Champion should still find himself at the top of overall standings when he leaves Russia. But Pechito has not forgotten that this circuit saw the only DNF of his FIA WTCC career so far…
Lying second in the World Championship, a position he has occupied since the opening round, Sébastien Loeb has seen his advantage eroded over the last three meetings, with Yvan Muller now just one point behind him in third! With one win and four other podium finishes in eight races, Seb has clearly raised his game since last season. A little more success in qualifying is all he needs to challenge Pechito’s supremacy.
Little by little, Yvan Muller is making up for the ground he lost with his scoreless performance at Termas. But the World Champion does not want to settle for second. To rein in López, he will have to notch up pole positions, as he did in Hungary, and win races, as he did in Morocco and Germany! Yvan is a formidable competitor and will give no quarter…
Ma Qing Ha’s season has been one of highs and lows. So far, the Chinese driver has achieved just one podium finish (in Marrakech). But despite his relative inexperience, he will be aiming for nothing less than victory! Moscow is the first circuit this season that was part of his 2014 programme. He hopes to use that experience to snatch back fourth place in the Drivers’ World Championship from Tiago Monteiro.
José María López, Sébastien Loeb, Yvan Muller and Ma Qing Hua have all stacked up points for Citroën in the Manufacturers’ World Championship. The team has scored the maximum 95 points at three of the four meetings contested so far. This gives it a lead of 115 points, an advantage it will be seeking to build on in the meetings ahead!