DS Virgin Racing Season Ends, Lopez Takes Podium

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Aug 042017

Latino Traffic Report has learned that DS Virgin Racing’s Jose Maria Lopez secured his second podium of the season during the thrilling Formula E season finale in Montreal, with team-mate Sam Bird finishing fourth to secure the team fourth place overall in the constructors’ championship. The result caps off the most successful season for the British team in terms of silverware, with an impressive six podiums and two wins, together with two pole positions and two fastest laps.

“I’m really pleased with the result, especially after what happened in race one, and to finish the season this way,” said Lopez. “I could tell straightaway what a difference the team had made to the car since my last race and it was frustrating our qualifying group meant we were unable to show this. Nevertheless, I enjoyed the race and of course the whole season, as well as working with the DS Virgin Racing team.”

Lopez  showed front-running pace but was drawn in the first qualifying group leaving him with the tougher of the track conditions to contend with, and starting from P11.

As the 37-lap race got underway, Lopez moved quickly up the field to lie sixth. Bird then made contact with the wall at Turn 3, damaging his steering and compromising both his handling and energy consumption during his first stint. Despite this, he was able to keep pushing and remarkably only lost one further place before pitting on lap 17, with Lopez stopping soon after and the two running third and fourth after the pit stop shuffle.

In the closing stages, race-leader and rival Felix Rosenqvist had dropped to second and into the clutches of Bird but with less usable energy, he was unable to maintain the pressure which allowed Lopez to get ahead. Lopez pushed until the chequered flag but was unable to get the better of Rosenqvist to cross the line third, one place ahead of his team-mate.

Team Principal Alex Tai commented: “My congratulations go to Jose for his superb podium today and his success in his debut season. Our achievements wouldn’t be possible without such a dedicated team, together with our partners, and we’re looking forward to continuing this momentum into season four.”

DS Performance Director Xavier Mestelan Pinon added: “It was great to end DS Performance’s second Formula E season with a podium, and to add to our tally this season. Throughout the season, the team has developed the performance of the DSV-02, which has allowed us to fight at the top regularly and I’d like to thank the whole DS Virgin Racing team, to Total and our partners for this. This season has also been rich in terms of technological breakthroughs for us as well as brand awareness across the globe.”

López Victorious in Slovakia Ring, FIA WTCC Race

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Apr 202016


Latino Traffic Report has learned that against all odds, José María “Pechito” López emerged victorious Saturday in the  FIA WTCC meeting at the Slovakia Ring in a main race that was still undecided going into the final bend. The Citroën Total driver has established himself as the man to beat at the start of the 2016 season.

“I’m happy to be driving a Citroën that is so quick… and so solid!” enthused López after securing a second consecutive main-race win.

In accordance with the new regulations, the top ten from qualifying lined up in reverse order on the opening-race starting grid. That meant López began from eighth place. Mehdi Bennani made a sensational start from the front row to grab the lead. In the chasing pack,  López and Yvan Muller also made headway, climbing to fifth and sixth place respectively by the end of lap one.

The two Citroën C-Elysée WTCCs remained locked together until lap 7, when López seized an opportunity to regain the upper hand. With three laps to go, Tiago Monteiro took the lead, with  Bennani then having to devote his energy to keeping Rob Huff at bay until the checkered flag.

thumb“The start of the main race was important. I got away perfectly and managed to take the lead,”  López said. “I pushed hard to open up a bit of an advantage over the first two laps. Then I felt some major vibrations in the rear left of my car. Something was broken. The noise disappeared, then came back again. On all the right-hand turns, I thought I was going to have to pull out!”

The final lap also saw an impressive rally from Norbert Michelisz, who passed Muller before putting pressure on  López. The  Argentine held his nerve till the end to secure a second consecutive main-race win.

“Nick seemed to be struggling at the end,” he explained. “I managed to get past him, but it was really tight right down to the wire. That makes this win even more enjoyable.”

Tomorrow, the Citroën Total team will set off for Budapest. The third FIA World Touring Car Championship meeting of the 2016 season will take place at the Hungaroring on April 23 and 24.