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WTCC PDF Print E-mail

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The 2014 World Touring Car Championship (WTCC) uprated its specifications this season, mainly to make the cars both appear more exciting and to improve performance. The engine is the same 1.6-litre that was adopted three years ago. However, thanks to a larger restrictor (36mm against 33), its maximum output increased by more than 15 per cent.
And yet the biggest changes concern chassis and body. The suspension scheme is no longer linked to the production models’, but it is specifically designed for racing. The aerodynamic package includes wider fenders, a proper front splitter, a flat bottom and a larger adjustable rear wing; altogether this makes a bigger influence on the car’s set up.  Additionally, the cars now look more aggressive.
There are bigger 18” wheels, instead of the 17” used previously.The final result means a better racing look and a drastic increase in performance on the track that is roughly estimated in 1.5 second per kilometre.

New Arrival
The French car maker, founded in 1905 by André Citroën, has produced some revolutionary and unforgettable models such as the Traction Avant, the 2CV and the DS.
It may look strange, but although Citroën has also built itself a solid reputation in motor sports since the Fifties of the 20th century, the 2014 WTCC marks its first involvement in an international circuit racing series.
On the other hand, Citroën’s factory teams have claimed a great deal of successes in rally-raids (five World titles and four victories in the Paris-Dakar) and in the World Rally Championship (nine Drivers’ and eight Manufacturers’ titles).
The Citroën Racing team will bring Sèbastien Loeb to WTCC; the nine-time World Rally champion has spent most of the 2013 season in preparation for this task, by successfully competing in the FIA GT series, the French Carrera Cup and the Macau Porsche Cup race.
Funny enough, him and the other WTCC newcomer confirmed so far, Dušan Borković, do not boast long backgrounds in racing. While Loeb built his extraordinary career in rallies, the Serbian driver has been 2011 FIA European Hill Climbing champion before switching last year to the FIA European Touring Car Cup.
Alongside Loeb is former champion Yvan Muller and José Maria López, all in identical Citroën C-Elisée models.  At the start of the year, in April, the Citro  At the start of the 2014 season, in April, the Citroëns dominated, with López on pole in Marrakech.  Second was Loeb; Muller qualified third was dropped a place for an infringement.
Amazingly, in the team’s first ever start in world touring cars, Citroën won both rounds in Morocco, with Argentine López taking round 1 and.Sèbastien Loeb round 2.  Round 1 saw the López cross the line first ahead of team-mates Sébastien Loeb and Yvan Muller. The three C-Elisée cars led from lights to flag, creating a huge gap between them and the rest of the field.
Tom Chilton finished fourth, but only eight seconds behind; the Briton was followed by Borković, Monteiro and local hero Bennani.

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Rounds 5 & 6
The next races, at the Hungaroring, saw Muller take victory, but in round 6, the Citroëns were beaten by Gianni Morbidelli’s Chevrolet Cruze..
While Yvan Muller scored another win in the first race, Gianni Morbidelli chalked up his first-ever WTCC win when he dominated the second race in his Münnich Motorsport Chevrolet RML Cruze.
The Citroën team still scored a 1-2 victory in Race 1, with Yvan Muller finishing ahead of José María López and Honda’s Tiago Monteiro. In the second race Morbidelli led the proceedings from start till finish, though Monteiro was never more than half a second away from the Chevrolet’s rear bumper.
The effect of the Citroën cars being weighed down by 60 kilograms of compensation weight showed especially in Race 2, where the first C-Elysée finished an atypical fifth. Though the Hungaroring is known for being hard to overtake on, the performance of the Chevrolet and Honda cars showed that the French ‘armada’ is no longer invincible, as Tom Coronel proved by keeping Muller and López at bay for the entire race to score a well-deserved fourth place.
Nine-time World Rally Champion Sébastien Loeb had his worst WTCC weekend so far this year as a botched start in Race 1 dropped him from third on the grid to seventh at the end of the first lap, behind all four Honda drivers.
Local hero, Norbert Michelisz, had an unfortunate qualifying session on Saturday which saw him outside the top ten when a suspension part broke on his hot lap. The Hungarian still salvaged a sixth place in the first race and a tenth in the second, cheered on by a huge partisan crowd that flocked to the circuit in spite of bad weather; official attendance was 58,000 over the two days.
In the TC2T class, the Liqui Moly BMW team again had a walk in the park, with Pasquale Di Sabatino scoring his first win of the season in the first race, before team owner Franz Engstler scored his fifth victory in the second.
In the world championship standings, López still led with 115 points, but team-mate Muller was now within ten points of the Argentine.

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Two freak results towards season end
At Beijing’s Goldenport Park circuit, at the beginning of October, Tom Chilton, the brother of F1 driver Max Chilton, took victory in the Chevrolet Cruze, while in race 2 it was former world touring car champion Rob Huff who brough his Lada home ahead of the field.

 
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© 2018 Jeff Heselwood. All rights reserved.
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