Citroen stripped of 1st and 2nd qualifying positions as WTCC visits France!

April 20, 2014 by Leo Nulty  

Sébastien Loeb and José María López have sensationally been stripped of their first and second qualifying positions after the technical checks.

During the post-qualifying checks, the FIA Technical Delegate tested the automatic fuel cut-off system on all the five cars that took part in Q3.
This test failed on the Citroën C-Elysée cars of Loeb and López; the same test had been successfully performed last week before the opening event of the season at Marrakech.
Consequently, the Stewards of the Meeting decided to disallow all lap times set by the two drivers who will be demoted to the back of the starting grid of both today’s races.
This will place Yvan Muller and Gabriele Tarquini on the front row of the starting grid for Race 1, while Mehdi Bennani and René Münnich will share the front row on the top-ten reverse grid for Race 2.

The below quotes are post qualifying, but before the stewards decision was announced.
Sébastien Loeb: “I did not expect to make the pole, as the three Citroën cars have been extremely close the entire day. Eventually, I had to take some risks to make a slight difference. The car felt perfect, I am very happy with the set-up. I couldn’t ask for more. Tomorrow, it will be important to take a good start in Race 1, then we will see. For sure, I will have big pressure on my back from my team mates. It’s very nice to be in a position to fight with Yvan and Pechito, who are more experienced than me in touring cars, and most of all, to see such a warm welcome by the fans here at the Paul Ricard.”

José María López: “The three of us at Citroën are very close, it was impossible to predict who would be on pole position. We work together, sharing all data, so it is a very open fight. I think Séb’s advantage came mostly in Turn 7, he was really fast there, while I wasn’t feeling perfectly confident with the brakes in that particular spot. Tomorrow, it is going to be interesting races, especially if it rains, as some forecasts anticipate.”

Yvan Muller: “The car has been perfectly rebuilt after Marrakech and I have to thank my crew for the great job. This morning, luckily, there was very little damage after hitting the tire pile in the chicane. Looks like I still have to familiarize with the extra width of the TC1 cars and change some conditioned reflexes! My Q3 lap seemed good, but clearly wasn’t that good, I need to check the telemetric data because I don’t know where and why I lost some time. Clearly, it would have been better if the session stopped after Q2, when I was the fastest. Tomorrow, it will be complex to overtake, as we are very, very close in performances.”

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