WTCC Race of Argentina - 06-07/08/2016
Autódromo Termas de Río Hondo has hosted WTCC Race of Argentina for three years running and it’s an event that has been dominated by local hero and double world champion José María López, who won on his championship debut in 2013 and triumphed again as a factory Citroën driver in 2014 (twice) and 2015. Located in Argentina’s Santiago del Estero region, Autódromo Termas de Río Hondo hosted the WTCC season opener last year but switches back to its traditional August slot for 2016 when thousands of fans are expected to watch López in his pursuit of yet more WTCC glory.
1: Autódromo Termas de Río Hondo, located in the city of the same name, was built in 2007 but underwent a complete overhaul in 2012 under the gaze of Italian circuit designer Jarno Zaffelli.
2: This circuit has played host to the national TC2000 touring car series, Formula Renault and MotoGP.
3: An Argentinian round of the WTCC was originally scheduled to take place at Buenos Aires in 2011 but it was cancelled after there problems homologating the track for international use were encountered.
4: Home hero José María López may be the man to beat in the WTCC, but Argentina’s most famous racing driver is still Juan Manuel Fangio – winner of five Formula One world championships in 1951 and 1954-57.
5: The hottest and coldest temperatures in South America have been recorded in Argentina. On 6 June 1907, Sarmiento in Patagonia recorded a temperature of minus 32.8 degrees centigrade. Thirteen years later, Villa de Maria in Córdoba experienced the highest recorded temperature at 49.1 degrees centigrade.
FLASHBACK 2015 (6-8 MARCH)
Sébastien Loeb and José María Lopéz claimed a victory apiece as the 2015 FIA World Touring Car Championship got off to a spectacular start with two action-packed races in Argentina. López, the national hero and reigning WTCC champion, triumphed in race one to the delight of the home crowd at a sun-drenched Autódromo Termas de Río Hondo. However, the 31-year-old was unable to prevent his Citroën team-mate Loeb from claiming top spot in the second event, which was punctuated by a safety car period to allow trackside marshals to clear debris from the track following a handful of early clashes. Yvan Muller finished second in race one following a first-corner bump with Lopéz as Loeb made it a Citroën podium lockout. Honda driver Tiago Monteiro completed the podium in race two, with second place for Lopéz – plus the five points he scored for claiming pole position for race one – helping the Argentine to a five-point championship lead over Loeb. Norbert Michelisz charged through from the back of the grid to win the Yokohama Drivers’ Trophy in race one with Mehdi Bennani taking the class laurels in the second counter, despite contact with Muller sending him into a spin. It was an incident-filled start to 2015 for LADA drivers Rob Huff and James Thompson, who both showed promise but were ultimately out of luck.Official Website
Name: Autódromo Termas De Río Hondo
Location: Avenida Costanera Prolongacíon – Rincón De Atacama, 4220 Termas De Río Hondo, Santiago del Estero, Argentina
Length: 4.806 kilometres
Lap record (qualifying): José María López (Citroën C-Elysée) 1m43.766s (166.73kph), 02/08/14
Lap record (race): José María López (Citroën C-Elysée), 1m45.926s (163.34kph), 03/08/14
WTCC RACE OF ARGENTINA WINNERS
2015: Race 1: José María López (Citroën C-Elysée); Race 2: Sébastien Loeb (Citroën C-Elysée)
2014: R1: José María López (Citroën C-Elysée); R2: José María López (Citroën C-Elysée)
2013: R1: Yvan Muller (Chevrolet Cruze); R2: José María López (BMW 320)
WTCC RACE OF ARGENTINA VENUES
2013-Present: Autódromo Termas De Río Hondo