Thed Björk headed YMR team-mate Yvan Muller in first practice for the all-new FIA World Touring Car Cup (WTCR) on the streets of Marrakech, with the session taking place on a damp track.
The early pace in the session was set by Sébastien Loeb Racing’s Rob Huff, whose first efforts were in the high 1 minute 34 seconds. But a drying line soon started to emerge, and after just over ten minutes BRC Racing’s Norbert Michelisz took over at the top of the times.
However it was Björk who would be at the top for the longest, with the reigning WTCC champion putting in a lap of 1 minute 33.209 seconds just after the halfway stage and remaining on top thereafter, his times improving until he put in a 1:32.821 on his last attempt.
Muller was second quickest in the second YMR Hyundai, just 0.041 seconds slower, ahead of Huff in third, who ended up 0.070 seconds adrift.
Campos Racing’s Pepe Oriola was fourth fastest with a lap of 1:33.079, the Spaniard improving towards the end, ahead of the leading Audi of Jean-Karl Vernay in fifth – although the Frenchman was one of several drivers to take to the Turn 1 escape road in the session as he pushed to the limits.
Michelisz ended the session in sixth, immediately ahead of Hyundai’s development driver from last year Gabriele Tarquini in seventh.
Yann Ehrlacher was the leading Honda driver in eighth, 0.578 seconds off the pace, whilst the Alfa Romeo of Fabrizio Giovanardi and the second Münnich Motorsport Honda of Esteban Guerrieri completed the top ten.
Outside of the top ten, were a variety of WTCR rookies, whilst last-minute Münnich Motorsport signing James Thompson managed to put in a respectable 11th fastest time despite a lack of recent experience in touring cars.
BTCC champion Gordon Shedden endured a difficult session, with brake problems curtailing the Scot’s running in the second Leopard Lukoil Audi, as he ended up 24th out of 25 cars and 2.6 seconds off the pace, completing the fewest laps of any driver.
Zsolt Szabó propped up the timesheets, and the Hungarian CUPRA driver ended the session in the barriers with damage to the right-rear corner of his car.
Second practice takes place at 11:00 BST (12:00 CEST).
|1||11||Thed BJÖRK||YMR||Hyundai i30 N TCR||16||1:32.821||0.000|
|2||48||Yvan MULLER||YMR||Hyundai i30 N TCR||15||1:32.862||0.041|
|3||12||Rob HUFF||Sébastien Loeb Racing||Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR||16||1:32.891||0.070|
|4||74||Pepe ORIOLA||Team Oscaro by Campos Racing||CUPRA TCR||17||1:33.079||0.258|
|5||69||Jean-Karl VERNAY||Audi Sport Leopard Lukoil Team||Audi RS3 LMS||17||1:33.232||0.411|
|6||5||Norbert MICHELISZ||BRC Racing Team||Hyundai i30 N TCR||15||1:33.315||0.494|
|7||30||Gabriele TARQUINI||BRC Racing Team||Hyundai i30 N TCR||15||1:33.340||0.519|
|8||68||Yann EHRLACHER||ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport||Honda Civic TCR||15||1:33.399||0.578|
|9||88||Fabrizio GIOVANARDI||Team Mulsanne||Alfa Romeo Giulietta TCR||15||1:33.729||0.908|
|10||86||Esteban GUERRIERI||ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport||Honda Civic TCR||13||1:33.779||0.958|
|11||15||James THOMPSON||ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport||Honda Civic TCR||16||1:33.797||0.976|
|12||23||Nathanaël BERTHON||Comtoyou Racing||Audi RS3 LMS||16||1:33.836||1.015|
|13||10||Gianni MORBIDELLI||Team Mulsanne||Alfa Romeo Giulietta TCR||13||1:34.029||1.208|
|14||63||Benjamin LESSENNES||Boutsen Ginion Racing||Honda Civic TCR||14||1:34.176||1.355|
|15||25||Mehdi BENNANI||Sébastien Loeb Racing||Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR||15||1:34.271||1.450|
|16||8||Norbert NAGY||Zengő Motorsport||CUPRA TCR||13||1:34.436||1.615|
|17||9||Tom CORONEL||Boutsen Ginion Racing||Honda Civic TCR||10||1:34.459||1.638|
|18||27||John FILIPPI||Team Oscaro by Campos Racing||CUPRA TCR||14||1:34.516||1.695|
|19||22||Frédéric VERVISCH||Audi Sport Team Comtoyou||Audi RS3 LMS||16||1:34.550||1.729|
|20||7||Aurélien COMTE||DG Sport Compétition||Peugeot 308 TCR||11||1:34.597||1.776|
|21||21||Aurélien PANIS||Comtoyou Racing||Audi RS3 LMS||14||1:34.757||1.936|
|22||20||Denis DUPONT||Comtoyou Racing||Audi RS3 LMS||16||1:34.931||2.110|
|23||70||Mat’o HOMOLA||DG Sport Compétition||Peugeot 308 TCR||11||1:34.948||2.127|
|24||52||Gordon SHEDDEN||Audi Sport Leopard Lukoil Team||Audi RS3 LMS||10||1:35.419||2.598|
|25||66||Zsolt Dávid SZABÓ||Zengő Motorsport||CUPRA TCR||15||1:36.396||3.575|