WTCC - Guerrieri's great, Monteiro's magic and it's 96/96 to Honda and Volvo Polestar as WTCC 2017 begins in style | Federation Internationale de l'Automobile
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WTCC - Guerrieri's great, Monteiro's magic and it's 96/96 to Honda and Volvo Polestar as WTCC 2017 begins in style

10.04.17

WTCC - 2017 Race of Morocco - Race report

WTCC, Touring car, Race of Morocco, FIA, motorsport

Esteban Guerrieri scored his maiden FIA World Touring Car Championship victory with the Opening Race spoils in Marrakech, while top spot for Tiago Monteiro in the big-scoring Main Race at WTCC AFRIQUIA Race of Morocco puts the Portuguese at the head of the charge for world title glory following the first weekend of the season.

Guerrieri started the Opening Race second on the grid but capitalised on Tom Coronel’s fading brakes to win ahead of Polestar Cyan Racing’s Thed Björk and local hero Mehdi Bennani. Norbert Michelisz followed his Honda team-mate Monteiro home in the Main Race, which is longer and offers more points than previously. Néstor Girolami took third for the factory Volvo Polestar squad, which is level with Honda in the Manufacturers’ standings heading to the next race in Italy.

With eight potential world champions in action, this season’s world championship is already shaping up to be the most open in nearly a decade, while Guerrieri’s victory points to a bright WTCC future for the talented Argentine, once a rival of Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel in Formula 3. His pace in the Main Race also earned him the prestigious TAG Heuer Best Lap Trophy and a watch.

Other notable performances came from rookie racer Aurélien Panis and Ryo Michigami, who took their first WTCC point with P10 in the Opening Race and Main Race respectively. After Guerrieri secured the WTCC Trophy laurels in the Opening Race, Tom Chilton secured the Main Race victory when on-the-road winner Bennani received a two-second penalty for a collision with Nicky Catsburg, which dropped him from fourth to sixth overall and from first to second in the classification for privateer racers.

RACE WINNER QUOTES (full transcript available soon at http://media.fiawtcc.com)
Esteban Guerrieri (Opening Race winner): “I have two big trophies, big emotions, the feeling is over the moon. We were having a good start yesterday but we got a bit of bad luck in qualifying with the yellow flags and we couldn’t go in the top 10. But luckily for us and unluckily for some guys they got a penalty so we could start second for the reverse grid. It’s a great feeling and this is for the Campos Racing guys, they deserve this more than anybody. I saw Tom [Coronel] had some issues with the brakes and I saw the balance of the car wasn’t as good as mine so I was waiting, being patient. I realised my brakes were not good but his must be even worse because he was locking and he lost the brakes and went straight so unlucky for him but that’s racing.”

Tiago Monteiro (Main Race winner): “Obviously it’s great to start from pole position because at a street track it’s the biggest part of the job as long as you have a good start. But you still have to go for it because there’s many laps and there can be many issues for everybody with brakes, tyres etc. and it’s very hot in the car so a lot of things can go wrong. You need to keep a good pace, not too slow, not too fast so it’s a fantastic feeling to start the season like this after so much work over the winter. And to be here after a 1-2 with Norbi it’s great, I’m really happy. And Ryo [Michigami] scored a point as well.”

CLICK HERE FOR THE OPENING RACE REPORT

CLICK HERE FOR THE MAIN RACE REPORT

DEBUT DELIGHT: TEAM VOLVO POLESTAR WINS WTCC MAC3
Team Volvo Polestar made it a first Manufacturers Against the Clock to remember by clinching the honours in the Tour de France-inspired team trial on the challenging streets of Marrakech to claim 12 points in its pursuit of the prestigious FIA World Touring Car Championship for Manufacturers. Taking part in WTCC MAC3 for the first time, the Swedish squad, competing under the Polestar Cyan Racing banner, set a 2m51.926s for rival make Team Honda to beat. But when Honda’s trio of Norbert Michelisz, Ryo Michigami and Tiago Monteiro could only manage a 2m52.675s, honours went to Volvo Polestar’s line-up of Thed Björk, Nicky Catsburg and Néstor Girolami. “We’re extremely happy and we’ve just calculated that is the first time we lead a world championship as a brand and we will savour the day fully,” said Alexander Murdzevski Schedvin, Polestar’s Head of Motorsport. “We have 20 tough races to go but this is the here and now and we’re very happy. The team performed impeccably. The car to beat at this track of course is Honda and we were 0.239s off in qualifying but we managed to outgun them in WTCC MAC3. So just a super-good feedback to everybody in the team who have been working day and night since the Qatar race.”

CLICK HERE FOR RESULTS/STANDINGS
RACE FACTS: Opening Race DHL Pole Position: Tom Coronel (Chevrolet RML Cruze TC1)
Main Race DHL Pole Position: Tiago Monteiro (Honda Civic WTCC)
TAG Heuer Best Lap Trophy: Esteban Guerrieri (Chevrolet RML Cruze TC1) 1m23.624s
NEXT EVENT: FIA WTCC OSCARO Race of Italy, Monza, 28-30 April (download free tickets online at www.oscaro.it.