Six weeks after the European season came to a close, the FIA WTCC begins its world tour in Argentina. At the Termas de Río Hondo circuit, José María López will clearly be the crowd favourite. Like his teammate Yvan Muller, Pechito will be keen to continue the Citroën C-Elysée WTCC’s South American winning streak.
For Citroën Racing, Argentina is a promised land, rich with exploits. The team’s ten WRC victories between 2004 and 2015 are an all-time record, while the Citroën C-Elysée WTCC is unbeaten in four races at the Autodromo de Termas de Río Hondo. That streak obviously coincides with the dominance of José María López.
Needless to say, the Citroën Total team are looking forward to their trip to South America… Before they make their way to the province of Santiago del Estero, they will, as is customary, spend a few days in Buenos Aires.
On Saturday afternoon, Pechito López will roam the streets of the capital in his Citroën C-Elysée WTCC. His itinerary will take him to the city’s most emblematic locations, such as the Plaza 9 de Julio, the obelisk and the Casa Rosada or “Pink House”, the official residence of Argentina’s president.
On Sunday, the two-time FIA WTCC World Champion will be reunited will his old Super TC2000 rivals for the 200km de Buenos Aires. The Citroën C-Elysée WTCC will be the guest of honour, completing a lap of the course before the race gets under way.
The promotional operations will continue with the arrival of Yvan Muller. Track experiences, filming of advertisements, live shows in TV studios and a Citroën dealers’ convention will keep the drivers’ diaries nice and full until the time comes to leave for Termas!
Then, it will be time to focus on the weekend’s racing, which will not be lacking in interest. With seven out of twelve meetings now completed, Citroën has a healthy advantage in the Manufacturers’ World Championship, 182 points clear of the second-placed team. Among the drivers, José María López is ideally placed to secure a third world title, with a 101-point lead over his closest rival. Yvan Muller is in fifth place, just ten points short of the runner-up spot.
However, the high standard of the competition means the margins are tight and drivers relax at their peril. After two winless meetings at Moscow and Vila Real, the Citroën Total team will be wanting to continue their onward march on a circuit where they have always had success in the past.
This wide track with a variety of fast corners and slippery braking points offers plenty of overtaking opportunities, which will be to the liking of Pechito and Yvan!
Unlike in the previous rounds, the drivers will only have two sessions of free practice to prepare ahead of qualifying. Once more, the Citroën C-Elysée WTCCs will be burdened with the maximum 80kg of ballast. The Hondas and Ladas will carry 60kg and 50kg respectively, while the Volvos and Chevrolet will be totally ballast-free.