Qatar prepared for night-time WTCC season-closer

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AngelPolacco

*Floodlit spectacular will settle podium places in final standings
*Legends López and Muller to bow out of WTCC in the Middle East
*Friday night fever to appeal to peak TV audiences in Europe and South America

There will be a duel in the desert when the 2016 FIA World Touring Car Championship reaches its climax at WTCC DHL Race of Qatar on Friday 25 November, as the second and third in the final standings are decided at the Losail International Circuit. 

But while the thrilling on-track battle for positions will take centre stage during the pair of night races, two motorsport greats will sign off from WTCC duty. Although José María López hopes to return to World Touring Car action in the future having made it three consecutive WTCC titles this season, Yvan Muller will retire from the championship following unprecedented success. 

Yvan Muller pictured above

No driver has won more titles (four) and races (48), claimed more pole positions (29), set more fastest laps (38) or led more races (571) than the 48-year-old French legend. Muller intends to go out with a bang by beating Tiago Monteiro to the coveted runner-up spot in the final standings behind his Citroën team-mate López. 

With a 31 point advantage over the Portuguese Honda driver, Muller has high hopes: “I realise it’s a special race and there might be some emotions. It’s also more than a race because I want to be second for my team. It’s always good to race at night so I hope it will be another special moment.”

For López, the WTCC’s desert duel also marks the end of an era. After claiming a hat-trick of drivers’ titles and breaking the record of most wins in one season (10), the Argentinian ace has chosen the FIA Formula E Championship for his next motorsport challenge although he admits a WTCC comeback is part of a long-term plan. “It’s not a goodbye but a ‘see you later’,” he said. “I am still young and I can be back if I have still the doors open, which I think I will have. I think one day if I have the opportunity I will be back.”

José María López pictured above

While second in the final table remains Monteiro’s target, he will also be keeping an eye on fellow factory Honda drivers Norbert Michelisz and Rob Huff, who are 14 and 24 points behind respectively. “I lost quite a lot of points in China, but I’m not going to give up,” said Monteiro.

For more information and updates about the WTCC follow this link: http://media.fiawtcc.com/press-releases/qatar-set-for-night-time-wtcc-season-closer/ 

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