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Pechito Lopez - (another) Double Champion is Crowned

Discussion in 'Motorsports' started by Paul Jeffrey, Nov 3, 2015.

  1. Paul Jeffrey

    Paul Jeffrey
    RaceDepartment Editor-in-Chief Staff Premium

    Hot on the heals of Lewis Hamilton securing his second consecutive FIA Formula One World Championship in Austin, another FIA championship was secured for the second time by José María "Pechito" López., Citroën Motorsports 32 year old Argentine star who races from the French brand in the WTCC.

    Lopez capped another near perfect season with a faultless display in Thailand, securing the title with Pole Position and a race win to romp home for the title in front of his more illustrious team mates in the form of 4 time WTCC Champion, Yvan Muller and 9 times World Rally Champion, Sebastian Loeb.

    Lopez continues his incredibly impressive WTCC career, following on from his 10 wins secured in his debut season (yes, 10 wins in his first season!) Lopez continued that form in 2015 wrapping up the series with 1 round remaining and collecting another 9 victories to his resumé.

    However things could quite easily have been very different for the Argentinian superstar, showing early promise in his single seater career including wins in the competitive Formula Renault 2000 Eurocup championship and overall victory in the Italian equivalent (beating Robert Kubica), Pechito stepped up to the Formula Renault V6 Eurocup and secured the title at the first attempt with 5 victories.

    While a promising career in open wheel cars formula loomed, a lack of funds and missed opportunities would follow for the young Argentine driver for the following few seasons and lead to a decision to return home to compete in his national touring car series the TC2000, Argentina's major production-based touring car championship. He was 5th in his debut year and won the drivers' title the following 2 seasons.

    López also joined the Turismo Carretera in 2008 and the Top Race V6 in 2009; he became TRV6 champion in his debut season (something of a trend forming here...). and narrowly lost out on winning the 2009 Turismo Carretera title after crashing out on an oil spill on the 18th lap of the final race of the season, thereby losing the unique opportunity to win three different championships in the same season.

    During the 2009 season it was announced that Lopez had secured a shock drive at the newly formed USGP Formula One team, at long last fulfilling the early career potential displayed in his early forays into European open wheel exploits. Unfortunately it came to light that USGP seriously underestimated the commitment needed to run a Formula One operation and once again Lopez was left on the Grand Prix sidelines without a drive or prospects for the coming season.

    Never one to let circumstances get the better of his desire to race and succeed, Pichito again returned to his homeland and again went on to secure the title, leaving little doubt that he is one of the most talented drivers in a very competitive series.

    Turn to 2013 and many in the European scene had forgotten the name on Jose Maria Lopez. With the WTCC making its debut at the Autódromo Termas de Río Hondo in August of that year, the Wiechers-Sport BMW team gave Lopez his WTCC debut hoping local knowledge would provide an opportunity for the privateer team to secure a stronger result than would otherwise be expected.
    Lopez placed his car in 10th position during qualifying (and therefore Pole Position for race 2) finishing the race an impressive 5th and went on to secure a debut victory in the second race with a mature performance far exceeding the expected performance of his aging BMW car.

    From that weekend onwards Lopez opened negotiations to drive for the new for 2014 Citroën Sport team, where many expected him to act as support for his superstar French teammates Muller and Leob.

    Right from the off Lopez has refused to be number two to anyone, and has proven time and again that he has both the speed and race craft to rightfully be considered one of the WTCC aliens alongside the likes of teammate Muller and the evergreen Gabrielle Tarquini.

    Will anyone be able to stop Lopez next season? At this early stage I would bet against the title going back to Argentina once again.
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 3, 2015
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  2. MoerasGrizzly


    The thailand race itself was a bit awfull though, with an emberassing amount of wrecks that makes any online public race look friendly (Also thanks to the WTCC cars being a lot less durable then their national counterparts). The second race was a lot better to watch, but Pechito didn't do that well in that race, presumably because he couldn't be bothered anymore :p.

    A pity that FIA regulations apperently did not allow the thing to become a night race. They started 10 mins from schedule and for some reason decided to end it early, which is a shame as the cars all have proper headlights and the circuit has proper floodlights, and the sun setting over the circuit looked proper beautifull. Get it sorted for next year FIA!

    Pechito is a great driver, but in the WTCC he has been helped by the Citroën domination that is slowly coming at it's end: Volvo is planning to join in on the WTCC fun, and Lada (of all people!) has gathered a very strong team with some very capable drivers from both within and without who are paired with the very quick but at the moment very fragile Lada Vesta. Honda has also shown it is capable of taking the fight to the Citroëns, esp. at the tighter circuits. The drivers worst off are the Chevy drivers, who are stuck with car that is simply mediocre (partly due to the car not being factory backed).

    And within Citroën Pechito is still challenged: Yvan Muller has been hit by a lot of bad luck lately (in the form of Ma Qing Hua and Hugo Valente - These day's youth!), but is still very cleary a very capable driver and Sebastian Loeb is learning the ropes of circuit racing very quickly, and is quite capable of challenging Pechito.

    And, off course, if it does turn out to be boring, that TCR international series (A WTCC spinoff going into the Seat Eurocup direction) is looming...

    (Dammit somebody do a european championship with the BTCC cars already!)
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2015
  3. Sergio Gomez

    Sergio Gomez

    Lopez > WTCC, hope to see him in a DTM or WEC :D
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  4. Xtra-Large22


    Sergio talvez le cueste un poco conseguir el patrocio y los sponsor para llegar a otras categorias de Alto rendimiento , ojala me equivoque
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  5. 4 8 15 16 23 42 108

    4 8 15 16 23 42 108
    Only the 5th-most famous race driver from Kerpen

    Very well spoken.
  6. MaxiSabino


  7. Ramon van Rijn

    Ramon van Rijn
    RaceDepartment Co-Founder Premium

    WTCC, Zzzzz
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  8. Emerson Meyer

    Emerson Meyer
    Keep Fighting

    Pechito is a great driver, no doubt.

    But man, it's a pain to watch a WTCC race. Boring to death.
  9. the_sigman


    Lopez has droven fantasticly. But I wish he was not racing. Muller vs Loeb for the title would be epic stuff!
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