Scorching heat forces retirement in Moroccan round of WTCC

Grégoire Demoustier showed great skill while battling for positions with several top class touring car drivers.

Craft-Bamboo Racing and Grégoire Demoustier have fought through a tough weekend at the Eurodatacar FIA WTCC Race of Morocco. Due to soaring temperatures on the streets of Marrakech, the car suffered brake problems that would ultimately force the team to retire from both races and prevent them from displaying the progress and performance of both team and driver. Demoustier’s speed was consistently improving throughout the weekend and he showed great skill while battling for positions with several top class touring car drivers.

Qualifying

Entering the first session, Demoustier was intent on utilizing the extra seat time and improvements the team had made to the car in Portimao. Having never before raced in Morocco, Demoustier used the first two practice sessions attempting to get a feel for the track. Using this knowledge from practice he pushed the car, hoping to find its limits and set a good pace for the race ahead. Unfortunately, Demoustier would struggle trying to extract the most performance out of the car, feeling unsatisfied with the braking performance.

After a pit stop and a new set of tyres, Demoustier went back out to improve upon his time, with the young Frenchman doing his best but struggling to match the straight-line speed of his adversaries. With an impending 10 place grid penalty for an engine change after Argentina, the team decided it would be best to save tyres by ending the session early after Demoustier had recorded a time of 1:46:261, securing him P17 in race one.

Race One

Demoustier made a quick start from P17 and instantly began challenging those ahead; carving through the field on the tight street circuit he was able to take three places and move up to P14 by the second lap. Continuing his charge, the young driver began battling with Kozlovskiy for P13 and was closing the gap but would have to enter the pits on the third lap due to braking issues with the car, caused by the tracks high temperature. The team worked furiously to fix the car before the start of Race Two and were able to make the repairs just in time to see Demoustier line up on the grid in P15.

Race Two

The start of race two was chaotic with several cars involved in incidents as they dived into the first corner. Demoustier made it through unscathed and began to quickly hunt down his opponents, this was no easy task given the circuit’s narrow layout, high curbs and tall cement walls which left no margin for error. He made some brave passes and fought his way into P11 behind Tarquini who was 3.7 seconds ahead. Demoustier began chipping away, consistently putting in quick lap times and closing the gap on the car ahead eventually breaking into world championship points scoring territory.

Demoustier would continue defending P10 from Thompson but forces out of his control would spoil the race once again. The young driver began suffering braking issues caused by the incredibly high temperatures and would begin to drop back down the grid, unable to maintain his race pace. Demoustier returned to the pits after completing eight competitive laps but would retire from the second race in an unfortunate end to a disappointing weekend for the team.

While the Eurodatacar sponsored event was a great success, with guests enjoying the beautiful Marrakech weather, close racing and famous street circuit, Craft-Bamboo Racing will be looking to the next round in Budapest for some familiar territory where they can begin to remount their Independent’s challenge.

Quotes

Grégoire Demoustier, Driver: “Some positive things, Lap times were quite good in race two, as was the car balance and brakes but then we had some problems with the brakes and had to stop. Let us stick with the positives, it wasn’t a bad weekend we still learnt things, my start was better, the balance was better, the brakes were better until the issue so I’m still happy with that. I am sure the next race will be better and I am looking forward to it.”

Richard Coleman, CEO of Craft-Bamboo Racing: "Very disappointed with today's retirement but the temperature we saw on the brakes were very high, much higher than what we saw in practice sessions. Greg continues to learn all the time and made progress all weekend, looking forward to Budapest and a much more conventional circuit and one Greg knows well"

Craft-Bamboo Racing

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About this article
Series WTCC
Event Marrakech
Sub-event Sunday race 2
Track Circuit International Automobile Moulay El Hassan
Drivers Grégoire Demoustier
Article type Race report
Tags craft-bamboo racing