Gabriele Tarquini claimed victory in the second FIA World Touring Car Cup race on the streets of Marrakech, after early race leader Nicky Catsburg crashed out with a suspected brake failure whilst seemingly controlling the race.
Hyundai driver Catsburg led the first nine laps of the reverse-grid race, with no significant pressure from Tarquini behind, when he crashed out on lap nine.
The Dutchman’s i30 N TCR jinked to the right whilst turning into a left-hand corner and he crashed out of the lead, picking up front-end damage and bringing about a four-lap safety car pause.
Until that point the race had been relatively sedate, with the only passing action coming at the start when Esteban Guerrieri lost out to Yann Ehrlacher, and Tiago Monteiro dropped two positions.
Catsburg’s demise handed the win to Tarquini on a plate, with the Italian also making the most of the restart as second-place finisher Jean-Karl Vernay was apparently caught napping.
“Nicky made a fantastic start, I could not overtake him at the start and he was leading,” said Tarquini. “I do not know what happened but it seems technical problem, so I’m really sorry for him because he deserved the win.
“Now, with the reverse grid, fortunately I can take some points for the championship, because our car is not very competitive. But with the reverse grid we can score points.
“My grid position for race three is not fantastic but also an eighth, ninth or tenth place will be good for me. I will score as much points as possible. I’m thinking of the long distance.
“The brakes are very hot, especially on this track. We carry a lot of weight, so the team was concerned about the hot temperature of the brakes. I cooled them down during the safety car and fortunately for me it was safe. The restart after the safety car was very good for me.”
The podium was completed by Lynk & Co’s Ehrlacher, who dropped away from the leading trio in the first half of the race and had to settle for third.
Saturday’s race one winner Guerrieri brought his Münnich Motorsport Honda home in fourth, ahead of the leading CUPRA of PWR Racing’s Mikel Azcona in fifth.
Cyan Racing duo Thed Björk and Yvan Muller were sixth and seventh in their Lynk & Co 03 cars, ahead of Monteiro in eighth.
Race three pole-sitter Frédéric Vervisch was the best Audi driver in ninth, whilst Néstor Girolami rounded out the top ten in his Münnich Honda.
Local hero Mehdi Bennani was an early casualty in the race after the Moroccan driver made contact with SLR team-mate Rob Huff on the opening lap. The Volkswagen driver had to pit for repairs, re-joining the race nine laps down.
Volkswagen endured a difficult race, with 17th-placed Johan Kristoffersson the best of the Golf GTi drivers, even though Huff posted the fastest lap time.
Team Mulsanne’s Ma Qing Hua also retired from the race during the safety car phase when his Alfa Romeo picked up a front-right puncture.
Race three follows at 18:15 local time (18:15 BST, 19:15 CEST).
|1||1||Gabriele TARQUINI||BRC Hyundai N Squadra Corse||Hyundai i30 N TCR||20||20 LAPS||1:27.420||2|
|2||69||Jean-Karl VERNAY||Leopard Racing Team Audi Sport||Audi RS3 LMS TCR||20||3.317||1:27.031||3|
|3||68||Yann EHRLACHER||Cyan Performance Lynk & Co||Lynk & Co 03 TCR||20||3.991||1:27.758||5|
|4||86||Esteban GUERRIERI||ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport||Honda Civic Type R TCR||20||4.514||1:27.510||4|
|5||96||Mikel AZCONA||PWR Racing||CUPRA TCR||20||4.669||1:27.370||6|
|6||11||Thed BJÖRK||Cyan Racing Lynk & Co||Lynk & Co 03 TCR||20||7.064||1:27.840||8|
|7||100||Yvan MULLER||Cyan Racing Lynk & Co||Lynk & Co 03 TCR||20||8.197||1:27.737||9|
|8||18||Tiago MONTEIRO||KCMG||Honda Civic Type R TCR||20||8.496||1:27.647||7|
|9||22||Frédéric VERVISCH||Comtoyou Team Audi Sport||Audi RS3 LMS TCR||20||8.895||1:27.229||10|
|10||29||Néstor GIROLAMI||ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport||Honda Civic Type R TCR||20||9.439||1:27.485||11|
|11||8||Augusto FARFUS||BRC Hyundai N LUKOIL Racing Team||Hyundai i30 N TCR||20||9.870||1:27.431||13|
|12||5||Norbert MICHELISZ||BRC Hyundai N Squadra Corse||Hyundai i30 N TCR||20||11.109||1:27.442||14|
|13||111||Andy PRIAULX||Cyan Performance Lynk & Co||Lynk & Co 03 TCR||20||12.081||1:27.751||16|
|14||50||Tom CORONEL||Comtoyou DHL Team CUPRA Racing||CUPRA TCR||20||12.703||1:27.554||15|
|15||52||Gordon SHEDDEN||Leopard Racing Team Audi Sport||Audi RS3 LMS TCR||20||13.109||1:27.594||17|
|16||37||Daniel HAGLÖF||PWR Racing||CUPRA TCR||20||13.659||1:27.646||18|
|17||14||Johan KRISTOFFERSSON||SLR Volkswagen||Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR||20||14.126||1:27.412||23|
|18||10||Niels LANGEVELD||Comtoyou Team Audi Sport||Audi RS3 LMS TCR||20||14.831||1:27.451||25|
|19||31||Kevin CECCON||Team Mulsanne||Alfa Romeo Giulietta TCR||20||15.184||1:27.303||20|
|20||9||Attila TASSI||KCMG||Honda Civic Type R TCR||20||16.358||1:27.461||21|
|21||21||Aurélien PANIS||Comtoyou DHL Team CUPRA Racing||CUPRA TCR||20||16.796||1:27.209||26|
|22||12||Rob HUFF||SLR VW Motorsport||Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR||20||17.440||1:26.974||19|
|23||33||Benjamin LEUCHTER||SLR Volkswagen||Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR||20||18.209||1:27.075||24|
|R||55||Ma QING HUA||Team Mulsanne||Alfa Romeo Giulietta TCR||13||DNF||1:27.714||12|
|NC||25||Mehdi BENNANI||SLR VW Motorsport||Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR||11||NCF||1:27.137||22|
|R||88||Nicky CATSBURG||BRC Hyundai N LUKOIL Racing Team||Hyundai i30 N TCR||9||DNF||1:27.359||1|