Only those who truly understand motorsports know that the two victories he achieved Jose Maria Lopez el May 28 2016 on the german circuit of Nurburgring, scene on that occasion of the fifth date of the World Tourism, must occupy a prominent place in the history of Argentine sports.
Because winning on the legendary 22-kilometer circuit is not easy at all. Yes even english Tom chiltonCordovan rival and his escort in the first of the two races that the WTCC contested that weekend, encouraged him to be a little more euphoric with his celebration for the magnitude of what he achieved.
Is that the characteristics of the German track make any victory have a special flavor, regardless of the category in which it is achieved. If even the Germans themselves have an honorary title for those who shine on this track: that of Ringmaster, something like Circuit Master ...
Those who always said that Lopez had no rivals in the WTCC for the supremacy of the Citroën Total Racing they should take into account some things that the man from Cordoba did in the "Ring" before making such a claim.
The then two-time champion, who had already won one of the two races held on this stage in the 2015 visit, he set pole position with a time that allowed him to lower his own record by two seconds. The brilliant result was achieved with a car that weighed 80 kilos more than the previous year due to the ballast that Citroën C-Elysée they had that season. As if that were not enough, Pechito took three and a half seconds from his escort, the French Yvan muller, his teammate…
Juan Manuel Fangio (1954, 1956 and 1957) and Carlos Reutemann (1975) also won at the Nürburgring Nordschleife circuit, in the Formula 1 German GP; and Esteban Guerrieri (2018), in the WTCR.
The first Saturday victory was achieved after starting ninth and after extricating himself, with a masterful maneuver, from the accident that involved the Portuguese Tiago monteiro (Honda) and Muller, who they stuck in front of the Argentine when the three fought at 250 km / h for the first place. Although Pechito assured that he received "gods help", had its merit to find in a fraction of seconds a place to pass between the hit cars and the guard-rail that surrounds the narrow track.
In race 2 he didn't have as much work. He took first place on the grid thanks to pole position and quickly recovered from a poor start, in which the extra weight of his car allowed the Hungarian Norbert Michelisz (Honda) lead for just two corners. "I preferred to be more cautious and take care of the rubber", he said in reference to his more conservative tactic, but successful since several rivals penalized with the Yokohama rubber. It is clear that to win at the Nürburgring you have to not only be fast, but also smart.
With Monteiro and Muller without points in the German event (they did not participate in race 2 because their cars could not be repaired in time), López increased his championship advantage with his two successes. “We have passed the halfway point of the tournament and the 55 points achieved this weekend give me a huge boost. Now it is the others who must take the risk to catch me ”, rightly recognized the Rio Tercero pilot.
Undoubtedly, that double at the Nürburgring was the icing on the cake of a season that, once again, made him a great champion.