Aurélien Panis tops first practice on drying track in Marrakech

The first practice session of the 2019 World Touring Car Cup was headed by Aurélien Panis, the Comtoyou Team DHL Cupra Racing driver setting a time of 1m25.841.

Overnight rain left the Circuit Moulay El Hassan greasy but drying, and it took until the final third of the session before drivers set competitive lap times.

Leopard Racing’s Jean-Karl Vernay, and BRC Hyundai driver Nicky Catsburg were over a tenth off the fastest, in second and third, ahead of early pace-setter Yann Ehrlacher.

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The Frenchman was the fastest of the four new Lynk&Co 03 cars.

Tiago Monteiro was fifth fastest, lapping 0.415s slower than Panis, but remained fastest Honda just ahead of Esteban Guerrieri 0.599s back.

Four-time WTCC champion Yvan Muller had brief appearances as fastest, ultimately finishing in seventh, over sixth tenths slower.

Daniel Haglöf was fastest of the rookies, the PWR Racing driver was only 0.012s slower than Yvan Muller. The TCR Scandinavia graduate completed 22 laps in an effort to become accustomed to the WTCR Cupra and the Marrakech circuit.

Frederic Vervisch was ninth, ahead of the BRC Hyundai Squadra Corse car of Norbert Michelisz who rounded out the top ten, 0.712s slower than Panis.

Andy Priaulx was 11th fastest in his first WTCR session, and reigning champion Gabriele Tarquini was 13th.

With many of the expected title contenders electing to limit their running in the first practice session, the pecking order is very much unestablished.

Second practice gets underway at 11:00 local time (11:00 BST, 12:00 CEST) followed by qualifying at 13:00 local time (13:00 BST, 14:00 CEST).

Session results

POS NO DRIVER NAT ENTRANT CAR LAPS TIME GAP
1 21 Aurélien PANIS Comtoyou DHL Team CUPRA Racing CUPRA TCR 12 1:25.841 0.000
2 69 Jean-Karl VERNAY Leopard Racing Team Audi Sport Audi RS3 LMS TCR 18 1:25.942 0.101
3 88 Nicky CATSBURG BRC Hyundai N LUKOIL Racing Team Hyundai i30 N TCR 11 1:26.026 0.185
4 68 Yann EHRLACHER Cyan Performance Lynk & Co Lynk & Co 03 TCR 17 1:26.198 0.357
5 18 Tiago MONTEIRO KCMG Honda Civic Type R TCR 13 1:26.256 0.415
6 86 Esteban GUERRIERI ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport Honda Civic Type R TCR 7 1:26.440 0.599
7 100 Yvan MULLER Cyan Racing Lynk & Co Lynk & Co 03 TCR 12 1:26.459 0.618
8 37 Daniel HAGLÖF PWR Racing CUPRA TCR 22 1:26.471 0.630
9 22 Frédéric VERVISCH Comtoyou Team Audi Sport Audi RS3 LMS TCR 12 1:26.489 0.648
10 5 Norbert MICHELISZ BRC Hyundai N Squadra Corse Hyundai i30 N TCR 12 1:26.553 0.712
11 111 Andy PRIAULX Cyan Performance Lynk & Co Lynk & Co 03 TCR 20 1:26.573 0.732
12 12 Rob HUFF SLR VW Motorsport Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR 9 1:26.620 0.779
13 1 Gabriele TARQUINI BRC Hyundai N Squadra Corse Hyundai i30 N TCR 7 1:26.629 0.788
14 11 Thed BJÖRK Cyan Racing Lynk & Co Lynk & Co 03 TCR 16 1:26.649 0.808
15 25 Mehdi BENNANI SLR VW Motorsport Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR 14 1:26.767 0.926
16 14 Johan KRISTOFFERSSON SLR Volkswagen Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR 13 1:26.799 0.958
17 96 Mikel AZCONA PWR Racing CUPRA TCR 20 1:26.826 0.985
18 8 Augusto FARFUS BRC Hyundai N LUKOIL Racing Team Hyundai i30 N TCR 15 1:26.839 0.998
19 52 Gordon SHEDDEN Leopard Racing Team Audi Sport Audi RS3 LMS TCR 14 1:26.849 1.008
20 10 Niels LANGEVELD Comtoyou Team Audi Sport Audi RS3 LMS TCR 23 1:27.104 1.263
21 31 Kevin CECCON Team Mulsanne Alfa Romeo Giulietta TCR 21 1:27.115 1.274
22 50 Tom CORONEL Comtoyou DHL Team CUPRA Racing CUPRA TCR 6 1:27.140 1.299
23 29 Néstor GIROLAMI ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport Honda Civic Type R TCR 6 1:27.508 1.667
24 9 Attila TASSI KCMG Honda Civic Type R TCR 25 1:27.559 1.718
25 33 Benjamin LEUCHTER SLR Volkswagen Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR 17 1:28.016 2.175
26 55 Ma QING HUA Team Mulsanne Alfa Romeo Giulietta TCR 18 1:29.689 3.848
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