WTCC Race of Argentina - 14-16/07/2017
TRACK GUIDE IN 100 WORDS
Circuito Termas de Río Hondo has hosted WTCC Race of Argentina for four years running, with national hero and triple champion José María López dominating to the tune of five wins, including his debut WTCC triumph in 2013. With López trying FIA Formula E for size in 2017, the battle for victory will be wide open when the venue hosts the start of the WTCC’s overseas tour in August. Located in Argentina’s Santiago del Estero region, 1800 kilometres north of the capital Buenos Aires, Circuito Termas de Río Hondo stages a MotoGP race each season and also houses a museum.
1: Circuito 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: The circuit has played host to the national TC2000 touring car series, Formula Renault and MotoGP events.
3: An Argentinian round of the WTCC was originally scheduled to take place at Buenos Aires in 2011, but it was cancelled after problems homologating the track for international use were encountered.
4: Home hero José María López might have been the man to beat in the WTCC in recent years, but Argentina’s most famous racing driver remains 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.
WHAT HAPPENED IN 2016?
José María López strengthened his grip on a third FIA World Touring Car Championship title with WTCC Race of Argentina victory number five to surpass illustrious countryman, the late Juan Manual Fangio, in terms of world championship races won. El Maestro scored 27 wins in world championship events during his distinguished career: first place for Citroën driver López in the Main Race at Termas de Río Hondo was victory number 28 for the Argentine, who topped the WTCC standings by 117 points. “Comparisons are always a bit difficult,” said López. “He’s the greatest we ever had and everything we have in motor racing is because of him, but it’s a nice personal thing.” Despite the high of claiming the DHL Pole Position, there was drama for López when the engine in his C-Elysée had to be replaced overnight, resulting in demotion to the back of the grid for the Opening Race. Undeterred, López charged through to finish fifth with Tom Chilton beating Rob Huff and Yvan Muller to victory. Starting from pole, López trailed the fast-starting Norbert Michelisz in the Main Race before making his move for the lead on lap seven. Michelisz dropped further back following contact with Muller, leaving Tom Coronel and Huff to complete the podium.
Opening Race DHL Pole Position: John Filippi (Chevrolet Cruze)
Main Race DHL Pole Position: José María López (Citroën C-Elysée WTCC)
TAG Heuer Best Lap: José María López (Citroën C-Elysée WTCC) 1m45.899s
WTCC MAC3 winner: Team Honda
Name: Circuito Termas de Río Hondo
Location: Avenida Costanera Prolongacíon – Rincón De Atacama, 4220 Termas De Río Hondo, Santiago del Estero, Argentina
Length: 4.806 kilometres
Opening Race distance: 11 laps (52.866km)
Main Race distance: 13 laps (62.478km)
Lap record (qualifying): Esteban Guerrieri (Chevrolet Cruze) 1m42.993s (167.9kph), 06/08/16
Lap record (race): José María López (Citroën C-Elysée), 1m45.899s (163.3kph), 07/08/16
WTCC appearances: 4
Time zone: GMT -3 hours
Nearest airport: Tucuman (87 kilometres)
2016: Opening Race: Tom Chilton (Citroën C-Elysée); Main Race: José María López (Citroën)
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)
2013-Present: Circuito Termas De Río Hondo