In the opening meeting of the 2016 FIA World Touring Car Championship, the Citroen Total team has proved it remains the team to beat.
Despite the 80kg of ballast the Citroen C-Elysee WTCCs were required to carry, Jose María Lopez won the main race and leaves the Paul Ricard circuit at the top of the World Championship standings.
There may have been grey clouds building up ominously in the Provence skies, but the weather was dry when the cars came out for the opening race. The reverse starting grid meant Yvan Muller and Jose María Lopez were placed 8th and 10th respectively.
According to team principal Yves Matton, "Despite a setup designed to penalise the reigning World Championship team, we have proved that the Citroën C-Elysée WTCC remains the best car in the competition.
I don't attribute a lot of importance to the result of the opening race, which is far too artificial to reflect the real pecking order. But the performance of Pechito Lopez in the main race is reward for the efforts put in by the whole team over the winter.
It's hugely satisfying to be on top of the Drivers' World Championship and with a bit more luck we could also have led the Manufacturers' standings. It's going to be a tough weekend in Slovakia, but after that we should be back competing on equal terms with our rivals."