World Touring Car Championship
After struggling a bit more than it was expected in Valencia, the Chevrolet team resumed their dominant pace and claimed two impressive 1-2-3 finishes at Marrakech.
If this result was expected in the first race, after Alain Menu, Rob Huff and Yvan Muller had qualified in first, second and fourth respectively, the top-ten reverse grid was due to make like harder for the blue trio.
And instead, they managed to recover in only five laps, swallowing up the other competitors on the straight with awkward ease. In the first race only Pepe Oriola was able not to lose contact, while in the second James Nash put up a decent a fight.
The young Englishman’s four laps in the lead will remain in WTCC history, as they were the first ever for a Ford car in the championship. All in all it was a very encouraging weekend for Team Aon and their drivers, who were consistently fighting for top positions and eventually Nash and Tom Chilton scored their first points.
Oriola and Stefano D’Aste shared victories in the Yokohoma Trophy, just like they had done in the two previous events: first race to the young Spaniard and second race to the Italian. No surprise that they are now on top of the point table covered by only four points.
In the overall championship, Muller (130 pts), Menu (106) and Huff (97) have already created a gap, leaving Tom Coronel a further twenty points behind. An impressive D’Aste has climbed to fifth, one point ahead of his compatriot Gabriele Tarquini who suffered from a nightmare weekend.
The championship will resume at Slovakia Ring, on April 29 for rounds 7 and 8.
Nash Inherited Pole For Second Race
For the first time a Ford car started from pole position in a WTCC race. It happened today, on the grid for the second race at Marrakech.
Team Aon’s James Nash who had qualified 11th yesterday, was promoted to 10th after Gabriele Tarquini had his lap times disallowed because his car was found underweight during the technical checks. And because the reverse grid for the second race is based on the final result of Q2, Nash also inherited pole position.
As for Tarquini, the Stewards revised their decision and decided to disallow only the lap times he set in Q2. This resulted in the Italian driver taking the start from 12th position instead that from the back of the grid.
Race 2 Penalty For Di Sabatino.
Bamboo-engineering’s Pasquale Di Sabatino received a 30-second time penalty in the second race that dropped him down from 12th to 15th in the overall classification and also cost him three points in the Yokohama Trophy.
The Italian drivers was punished by the Stewards for repeatedly cutting the chicanes; he had already received a warning for the same reason during Race1.
The Word To The Winners
Alain Menu (Race 1 winner): “Everything worked just like I hoped it would. Obviously yesterday’s pole position made things easier. What I had to do was taking a good start and then avoiding mistakes. I managed to do so and I’m quite pleased because Chevrolet finished 1-2-3. I did create a gap on the first laps, though it was not on purpose. I was not pushing to the limit, but Rob was under pressure from Yvan and Oriola and this did not help him to keep in touch.”
Yvan Muller (Race 2 winner): “Again we had the best car on the track in the weekend. I am very pleased with this victory, because starting from seventh on the grid I did not expect to finish better than between fourth and sixth. I would be happy with that. I was especially fast between turns 1 and 2. There you have to sacrifice the first corner to be faster in the second. I overtook most of the other drivers there.”