WTCR AFRIQUIA Race of Morocco 2019 - 05-07/04/2019
Transformed from street circuit to semi-permanent race track for 2016, Circuit Moulay El Hassan is located in the heart of Marrakech’s bustling hotel district. Built to FIA Grade II standards, the layout is the work of Hermann Tilke’s renowned architecture agency and offers impressive views of the Atlas Mountains and Marrakech city wall. But with a compact lap of 2.971 kilometres (down from 4.545km previously) and a sprinkling of tight, wall-lined turns, there is no time for WTCR drivers to take in the scenery, which was certainly the case when Marrakech hosted the inaugural WTCR OSCARO event in April 2018.
RACE RECAP 2019
Thed Björk saved his best to last with an historic Race 3 victory at WTCR AFRIQUIA Race of Morocco – the first in an FIA world-level event by a Chinese manufacturer.
Driving a Lynk & Co 03 TCR developed by Geely Group Motorsport from China, Björk inherited P1 from team-mate Yvan Muller and resisted intense pressure from DHL pole-sitter Frédéric Vervisch to follow Esteban Guerrieri and Gabriele Tarquini as a winner on the streets of Marrakech.
Guerrieri triumphed in Race 1 for ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport with 2018 title winner Tarquini taking first place in Race 2 for BRC Hyundai N Squadra Corse.
Meanwhile, Björk and WTCR / OSCARO rookie Néstor Girolami, Guerrieri’s Honda-powered team-mate, joined the Argentine on the Race 1 podium, with Leopard Racing Team Audi Sport’s Jean-Karl Vernay and Yann Ehrlacher finishing second and third to Tarquini in Race 2.
Behind second-placed Vervisch in Race 3, PWR Racing CUPRA driver Mikel Azcona made it a WTCR / OSCARO debut weekend to remember, the TCR Europe champion from Spain claiming third place.
But it was Björk who left Morocco on top on the #ROADTOMALAYSIA, where the 2019 season concludes in December, with a five-point advantage over Guerrieri. ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport headed the Teams’ standings by 12 points in front of Cyan Racing Lynk & Co.
Meanwhile, there were mixed emotions for home hero Mehdi Bennani. After posting two DNFs, the Moroccan hit back with P12 in Race 3 and the TAG Heuer Best Lap Trophy in his Sébastien Loeb Racing Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR.
DHL Pole Position Race 1: Esteban Guerrieri (ARG) Honda Civic Type R TCR
Race 1 winner: Esteban Guerrieri (ARG) Honda Civic Type R TCR
Race 1 fastest lap: Attila Tassi (HUN) Honda Civic Type R TCR
DHL Pole Position Race 2: Nicky Catsburg (NLD) Hyundai i30 N TCR
Race 2 winner: Gabriele Tarquini (ITA) Hyundai i30 N TCR
Race 2 fastest lap: Rob Huff (GBR) Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR
DHL Pole Position Race 3: Frédéric Vervisch (BEL) Audi RS 3 LMS
Race 3 winner: Thed Björk (SWE) Lynk & Co 03 TCR
Race 3 fastest lap: Mehdi Bennani (MAR) Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR
TAG Heuer Best Lap Trophy: Mehdi Bennani (MAR) Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR
TAG Heuer Most Valuable Driver: Thed Björk (SWE) Lynk & Co 03 TCR
Track essentialsName: Circuit Moulay El Hassan
Location: Route de L'Ourika, Zone Agdal, Marrakech 40000, Morocco
Length: 2.971 kilometres
Race 1 distance: 18 laps (53.478 kilometres)
Race 2 distance: 18 laps (53.478 kilometres)
Race 3 distance: 21 laps (62.391 kilometres)
Best lapsWTCR lap record (qualifying): Gabriele Tarquini (Hyundai i30 N TCR), 1m24.316s (126.8kph), 08/04/18
WTCR lap record (race): Gabriele Tarquini (Hyundai i30 N TCR), 1m26.150s (124.1kph), 08/04/18
More detailsTime zone: GMT +1 hours
Fly to: Marrakech Menara Airport (8 kilometres)
Stay: Le quartier de l’Agdal, Marrakech