In 2005, Duncan Huisman became the first driver to win a WTCC round at his first attempt, but Lopez doesn’t have anything like the experience Huisman had in FIA Touring Car Championships and so his victory in Race 2 at Termas de Rio Honda was truly the first WTCC win by a ‘rookie’ driver.
Lopez was also the first non-European to win a WTCC race since Augusto Farfus’ victory at Macau in 2009.
For a while, it looked as though Yvan Muller might score back-to-back wins, but after taking maximum points in Race 1, the RML Chevrolet driver was handed a drive-through penalty in Race 2 after making contact with Tiago Monteiro while the pair were battling for second place.
Monteiro’s team-mate Gabriele Tarquini gave the Castrol Honda team something to celebrate by finishing second in Race 2, while a delighted Pepe Oriola recorded a pair of podium finishes and so collected a healthy points haul from the long journey to South America.
Hugo Valente was another driver to be under investigation after an incident involving another car, but the Stewards decided a reprimand was sufficient punishment after he made contact with Darryl O’Young and so the Frenchman scored his first WTCC points by finishing in a brilliant eighth place in Race 2.
In the Championship standings, Muller now has a massive 132 point lead in the Drivers’ table ahead of Michel Nykjær, with Tarquini in third place. Nykjær has also extended his lead in the Yokohama Trophy to nine points after the two races in Argentina, ahead of the British pair of James Nash and Alex MacDowall.
The championship will resume after a one month break for rounds 17 and 18 that will take place at Sonoma, USA on September 8.