Gabriele Tarquini struggled with an electrical issue on his Hyundai i30 N TCR in qualifying for the first FIA World Touring Car Cup (WTCR) race in Morocco, although the Italian was able to qualify in third.
Tarquini was part of a Hyundai 1-2-3 in the first qualifying session for the new era of FIA touring cars, just two tenths behind his BRC Racing team-mate Norbert Michelisz, whilst YMR’s Thed Björk secured the pole position.
But the Italian, who was quickest early on in the session, felt that an electrical gremlin – similar to that which affected Michelisz’s car in second practice – prevented him from posting a better lap time in the closing minutes.
“I had the pace from the beginning,” said Tarquini. “I was pushing too hard in the centre of the session and unfortunately I had some electronic problem in the end of the qualifying which didn’t give me the possibility to improve my lap time.
“I am very happy, especially in the top three we have three Hyundais and this is great. It’s great for Hyundai and it’s great for me because I was involved. It’s a shame I’m only third but I am happy that the other two cars in front of me are Hyundai.”
Tarquini last raced in Marrakech in 2016, and he feels that the more recent experience of his rivals will give them the edge in the race, where he will move up one position due to a penalty for Michelisz.
“It will be difficult to in race because Björk and Norbi were very fast. They are on the pace because they race here for two seasons and my memory is a bit longer.
“But I am happy about my performance and we will see what happens during the race. It will be a very tough race.”