Lopez, Muller concerned with slower Marrakech layout
Citroen WTCC drivers Jose Maria Lopez and Yvan Muller have expressed their concerns over the new layout of the Marrakech circuit that will be used this weekend.
The fast street track used up to 2015 has been turned into a permanent but shorter and twistier circuit, measuring in at just under 3km.
With the old street circuit having been described as 'Monza with no run-offs' by triple world champion Andy Priaulx on the occasion of the first WTCC visit in Morocco, the circuit was iconic.
It was rated by the drivers as exciting, despite several accidents and safety car periods during the races over the years.
Lopez preferred the old layout to the new one: "I really liked the old circuit, which was like nothing else on the planet.
"After my preparations on the simulator, I get the impression the new track will be very slow," the Argentine explains.
"We won’t go quicker than 200km/h and I can’t really see any good overtaking spots. The track seems narrow, without any big turns where you might slip past a rival."
With such a short track, qualifying will be crucial as the gaps will inevitably come down: "It’s going to be a real challenge, particularly in qualifying, with the course being so short," Lopez added.
"The times are going to be very close and the slightest error will be more costly here than elsewhere."
No use of sixth gear
Teammate Muller echoed Lopez's stand, adding that the TC1 cars might not be able to use fifth gear, totally ruling out the use of sixth gear.
"Like Jose, I’m sad that the straight sections have been shortened to such an extent," said the Frenchman.
"We’ll never get into sixth gear, and maybe not even fifth. We’ll need to keep up a good pace on this track.
"On paper, overtaking opportunities will be limited, but I’ll reserve judgement until I get out there," he added.
Citroen head into the weekend with a 40 point advantage over Honda in the manufacturers' standings, but will also be 40kg heavier than their main rivals.
Pietro Casillo / TouringCarTimes
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