Sebastien Loeb has won on his debut weekend in the World Touring Car Championship and now leads the series by one point after the first round in Morocco.
The Citroen WTCC driver, debuting the team’s C-Elysse racer, finished second in the first race, less than a second behind winner (and Citroen WTCC team mate) Jose Maria Lopez, and went one better in the second race after incidents (including fellow Citroen driver Yvan Muller) marred the first lap.
Lopez and Loeb also mean Citroen boasted a double victory in its debut WTCC weekend – and some are already suggesting the team may be as successful in touring car racing as it was in WRC rallying. The 1-2-3 result in the opening race, more than 8 seconds clear of fourth place, was particularly commanding.
Victorious Citroen Racing speaks
Yves Matton, team principal, Citroen Racing, said: “We would never have dared dream about the result we achieved today. After being part of the Loeb/Sainz/McRae treble at the Monte-Carlo Rally in 2003, I am delighted to have witnessed an equally special achievement from Pechito, Seb and Yvan (Muller, who came third).”
Jose-Maria Lopez said: “I’m really proud to be part of this team and this is a day I will remember for a long time. Congratulations to Sebastien on his win. You’d think he’d been competing in this championship for years!”
And Loeb? He was happy – but, by the sounds of it, reckoned he could have been on for the double…
“I didn’t know what to expect today, but Citroen have developed a fantastic car. The balance of the chassis, the engine… everything was perfect.
“We could have battled it out between us, but it was impossible to find a way past Pechito in the first race. He didn’t make any mistakes and I decided to settle for second when the brakes started to heat up.
“In race 2, I was lucky at the start too. After that, we were faster than the competition and we were able to move out in front.”