WTCR race recap: #1 Morocco
With the WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup presented by OSCARO on summer vacation, here’s a reminder of what’s been happening so far, starting with the inaugural event, WTCR AFRIQUIA Race of Morocco.
Weekend in short
*Hyundai-powered Italian wins twice to lead standings after inaugural event
*Vernay takes Race 2 as five brands fill top five places in dramatic contest
*Fan favourite Bennani claims Marrakech runner-up spot at home
*Three world champions on Race 3 podium
The WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Car Cup presented by OSCARO got off to an electrifying start on the streets of Marrakech (7-8 April) with Gabriele Tarquini scoring a victory double.
Driving a BRC Racing Team Hyundai i30 N TCR, the Italian converted his DHL Pole Position into Race 3 victory ahead of fellow world champions Yvan Muller and Thed Björk, having also triumphed in Race 1.
Four-time World Touring Car title winner Muller qualified alongside Tarquini but made a relatively slow start and moved left to block Norbert Michelisz’s BRC entry. That allowed Björk to jump both for second into Turn 1. But the Swede lost the spot when he accidentally knocked the power switch, miraculously losing just one spot to Muller.
Earlier, the reverse-grid Race 2 was won by Jean-Karl Vernay in his Audi Sport Leopard Lukoil Team Audi RS 3 LMS. The Frenchman headed local hero Mehdi Bennani, who claimed a popular podium in his Sébastien Loeb Racing Volkswagen Golf GTI. Pepe Oriola took third having lined up on pole. Fourth for ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport Honda driver Yann Ehrlacher and fifth for Björk meant five different car brands filled the top five places.
“I know my child!” Tarquini joked after Race 1, a reference to the Hyundai i30 N TCR he’s played a key role in developing. “I pushed my child at the start because I knew the start was the key. This is a good, good win – especially because I am the oldest! They talk about my pension, but here I am, still learning and still enjoying my racing. I’m dreaming, I’m leading the championship.”
DHL Pole Position Race 1: Thed Björk (SWE) Hyundai i30 N TCR
Race 1 winner: Gabriele Tarquini (ITA) Hyundai i30 N TCR
Race 1 fastest lap: Gabriele Tarquini (ITA) Hyundai i30 N TCR
DHL Pole Position Race 2: Pepe Oriola (ESP) Cupra TCR
Race 2 winner: Jean-Karl Vernay (FRA) Audi RS 3 LMS
Race 2 fastest lap: Jean-Karl Vernay (FRA) Audi RS 3 LMS
DHL Pole Position Race 3: Gabriele Tarquini (ITA) Hyundai i30 N TCR
Race 3 winner: Gabriele Tarquini (ITA) Hyundai i30 N TCR
Race 3 fastest lap: Gabriele Tarquini (ITA) Hyundai i30 N TCR
TAG Heuer Best Lap Trophy: Gabriele Tarquini (ITA) Hyundai i30 N TCR
TAG Heuer Most Valuable Driver: Gabriele Tarquini (ITA) Hyundai i30 N TCR