WTCC boss proud to have revived Lopez's international career
WTCC promoter Francois Ribeiro says he is "really glad" that his championship allowed Jose Maria Lopez to get back in the limelight of international motorsport.
Lopez, a former Renault F1 development driver and the first and only signing of the unsuccessful US F1 project, has spent much of the past decade racing in his native Argentina.
In 2014, however, he joined Citroen as a full-time factory driver in the WTCC. He won the title that year and in 2015, and is currently the odds-on favourite to become champion again.
Speaking about Lopez to Motorsport.com, Ribeiro said: "I have a huge admiration for what he's doing and what he has done in the past.
"I am just so happy, you cannot imagine how much I am happy, that we are the championship [where he has shined].
"I have now many people telling me 'ah, but I knew that Lopez was super-strong, I knew he was a potential world champion, I knew, it was obvious when you see his career from go-kart to Renault driver development programme, it was obvious that he would be world champion some day'.
"Yeah, but when I first met him in 2013, he was only racing in Argentina and no one internationally was giving a s**t about him. No one.
"So I'm really glad that WTCC made Lopez a king of touring cars and with an international profile.
"He deserves it and I think it is part of the strength of the world championship - to create its own heroes."
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