The Champions Gest

José Maria Lopez, known as “Pechito”, won his third consecutive WTCC world title at 33 years old Sunday afternoon at the Motegi Circuit in Japan.

Scouted in 2013 by Yves Matton, the director of Citroën Racing, the Argentine driver conquers the WTCC with his talent. Since his beginnings in 2014, he has won 27 victories (for 75 races) and 20 Pole Positions, marking his entry into the Panthéon of the WTCC.

As well as being a great driver, Lopez proved Sunday that he was also a great man and teammate. Leading the Main Race, he lets Yvan Muller past to give him the victory, permitting him to take 2nd place in the championship (ex aequo with Honda’s Tiago Monteiro).

It is not the first time in racing that a driver lets his teammate past. During the 2002 Austrian Grand Prix, Rubens Barrichello let Michael Schumacher past at 100 meters from the finish line, gifting the victory to him. However, Ferrari had by no subtile means ordered Barrichello to let the German World Champion past.

This time, Pechito alone took the decision.

At the end of the race Yvan Muller declared on Facebook: “In a team, the most beautiful thing is to have what we call Team Spirit. By my own decision, i helped José in Argentina. The battle for the title now over, José returned the favour by helping me to win. It is rare to see this in racing, that is why i am happy to be one of two drivers to have that respect…”

We also have to give credit to the good work of the Citroën Racing mechanics who put the two C-Elysées back into racing shape after taking hard hits during the Opening Race.

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