Ten WTCR Race of Morocco memorable moments
In a week when the WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup waved au revoir to Morocco ahead of promoter Eurosport Events preparing to open a new chapter with the country in the future, here are 10 WTCR Race of Morocco memorable moments from the last two years*.
1: Tarquini makes history…
At 17h52 local time on 7 April 2018, Gabriele Tarquini made motorsport history when he won the first WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup race. But it was close with the Hyundai-powered Italian edging out Thed Björk by a mere 0.729s.
2: …So does Björk
More history was made 12 months later when Björk scored the first FIA world series win by a Chinese car, the Lynk & Co 03 TCR.
3: Mr Le Mans takes an Audi for a spin
Before the WTCR drivers took to the track for the inaugural WTCR race in 2018, Mr Le Mans, Tom Kristensen, took an Audi RS 3 LMS for a spin in a feature on Eurosport, for whom Kristensen is a motorsport ambassador.
4: Lessennes the youngest
Benjamin Lessennes was 18 years, nine months and nine days old when he took part in WTCR Race of Morocco in 2018. He remains the youngest driver to start a WTCR race.
5: Local hero sets the best lap…
Home hero Mehdi Bennani collected the TAG Heuer Best Lap Trophy for the fastest race lap of all during last year’s WTCR Race of Morocco.
6: …but 2018 podium topped that achievement
While Bennani showed strong race pace in 2019, he was a podium finisher in 2018, claiming the runner-up spot in Race 2 behind Jean-Karl Vernay.
7: Monteiro makes full-time return
Tiago Monteiro marked his return to full-time racing from serious injury at WTCR Race of Morocco in April 2019. And he showed he’d lost none of his magic by making it through to the DHL Pole Position shootout.
8: World title winners on track
There was not one but seven FIA world title winners on track at WTCR Race of Morocco last April. The super seven were Thed Björk, Augusto Farfus, Rob Huff, Johan Kristoffersson, Yvan Muller, Andy Priaulx and Gabriele Tarquini.
9: Rivals keep close
The incredibly close nature of WTCR racing was demonstrated when the top 23 drivers were covered by 0.8s during Second Qualifying Q1 in 2019.
10: Azcona arrives
Mikel Azcona signalled his intent with a stunning performance on his WTCR debut in 2019. The 2018 TCR Europe champion qualified fifth for Race 3 and went on to score a breakthrough podium for CUPRA-powered PWR Racing.
*Prior to the advent of the WTCR in 2018, Marrakech had hosted FIA World Touring Car racing from 2009. Of course, the nine visits the WTCC made to the city provided hundreds of memories, while the history books will show the driver to score win number one in Morocco was Rob Huff, then a world champion in the making.