WTCC

A NIGHT TO REMEMBER FOR THE CITROËN C-ELYSÉE WTCC

After a long hiatus, the FIA World Touring Car Championship 2016 draws to a close in Qatar with two night races at the Losail circuit. Though the titles are all sewn up already, with Citroën and José María López* claiming the honours, there is sure to be plenty of emotion as the Citroën Total team completes its final race in the competition. Yvan Muller, who is in contention for the championship runner-up spot, is also calling time on a fabulous career in top-class racing. The four-time World Champion is also the WTCC’s most capped driver – a record that looks set to last for many years to come! 

Citroën Racing’s foray into global track racing, which began in 2014, will end on Friday 25 November 2016 after sixty-nine races for the official C-Elysée WTCCs. In three years, the car, the most sophisticated ever built for the discipline, has dominated its competitors, winning 88% of available pole positions (30 out of 34) and 73% of its races (49 out of 67).

After five Cross-Country Rally World Cups and eight World Rally Championships, Citroën has added three more titles in the WTCC, bringing its total world trophy haul to sixteen!

The Citroën Total team will feel that their mission is already accomplished, but will nonetheless be seeking to round off their WTCC adventure in style. Two months after the Shanghai meeting, everybody involved will be eager to get back to work at Losail International Circuit.

In the FIA WTCC’s second visit to Qatar, the drivers will once again experience the rare sensation of driving at night, albeit with the 5.38km track bathed in the glow of powerful spotlights. Designed for MotoGP, this circuit is perfectly suited to touring car racing, too, with plenty of overtaking opportunities.

Last year, the Citroën C-Elysée WTCCs appeared at ease here, with José María López claiming pole position before winning Race 1. Yvan Muller then completed the set by emerging victorious in Race 2.

As he says goodbye to a discipline that has brought him international recognition at last, Pechito López makes no secret of his ambition to make it onto the top step of the podium one last time. That would be a great reward for the team, but also for his Argentine fans, who have closely followed the fortunes of their country’s first world motorsport champion since Juan Manuel Fangio!

Emotion will be running at least as high on the other side of the garage. Yvan Muller’s retirement marks the end of an era in the FIA WTCC. Once again, the stats are astounding: in eleven seasons and 248 starts, the man from Alsace has set the records for number of pole positions (29), number of race wins (48), number of laps in the lead (571), number of fastest laps (38), points scored (2901) and, of course, world titles, with four championship crowns.

Yvan is a legendary driver who has decided to call it a day while he is still at the top. His aim for this weekend will be to hold on to second spot in the World Championship and thus secure a one-two for Citroën. With Yvan the Terrible currently lying 31 points ahead of Tiago Monteiro, that target should be well within his reach!

Citroën’s cars will once again be carrying the maximum ballast of 80kg at the last meeting of the season. It is worth noting that, since they debuted in the discipline in 2014, the C-Elysées have systematically been burdened with the maximum handicap. Over three years, those compensation weights add up to 2340kg, almost twice as much as the second most penalized team! That figure shows just how brilliantly the team and its drivers have performed.