Marrakech WTCC: Pepe Oriola becomes youngest ever winner
|By Sam Tremayne||Sunday, April 7th 2013, 17:00 GMT|
Pepe Oriola became the youngest winner in the history of the World Touring Car Championship with a hard-fought victory in the Marrakech finale.
The 18-year-old Spaniard had jumped poleman Fernando Monje to lead away from the start, but soon came under heavy pressure from the RML Chevrolets of Yvan Muller and Tom Chilton.
Forced onto the defensive, Oriola backed up the two Cruzes into the chasing pack, with the top seven covered by just three seconds at mid-distance.
Despite repeated attacks Oriola continued to resist Muller until finally earning a reprieve when Gabriele Tarquini and Alex MacDowall collided on lap eight, bringing out the safety car.
The duo had been at the tail-end of the lead fight when Tarquini took too much kerb at Turn 10, jumping him across the track and straight into the path of MacDowall.
By the time the accident was cleared there was time for one final lap, but Oriola once again withstood everything Muller could muster. His winning margin was just 0.430 seconds in the Tuenti SEAT.
Chilton, who had one lairy moment looking down the inside of Muller, followed his team-mate home in third.
James Nash sealed fourth after a close battle with Marc Basseng, the only Munnich SEAT to make it to the finish.
Basseng's team-mate and defending champion Rob Huff had snatched third away from the line, but an attempted dive down the inside of poleman Monje at the final hairpin resulted in contact with the wall and damaged steering.
Huff was effectively out on the spot, while Monje was severely delayed and dropped to 11th, just behind Lada's James Thompson.
That lasted for less than one lap, as Monje then ploughed into Thompson's Granta at the penultimate chicane on the second lap. The incident is under investigation.
Those accidents lifted Tom Coronel into sixth, just ahead of race one winner Michel Nykjaer.
Results - 13 laps: Pos Driver Team/Car Time/Gap 1. Pepe Oriola Tuenti SEAT 28m08.751s 2. Yvan Muller RML Chevrolet + 0.430s 3. Tom Chilton RML Chevrolet + 0.677s 4. James Nash Bamboo Chevrolet + 0.948s 5. Marc Basseng Munnich SEAT + 1.808s 6. Tom Coronel ROAL BMW + 2.028s 7. Michel Nykjaer Nika Chevrolet + 2.326s 8. Franz Engstler Engstler BMW + 4.377s 9. Darryl O'Young ROAL BMW + 4.889s 10. Charles Ng Engstler BMW + 6.273s 11. Mehdi Bennani Proteam BMW + 6.349s 12. Fredy Barth Wiechers BMW + 6.385s 13. Mikhail Kozlovskiy Lada + 7.037s 14. Stefano D'Aste PB BMW + 7.698s Retirements: Norbert Michelisz Zengo Honda 9 laps Gabriele Tarquini Honda 7 laps Alex MacDowall Bamboo Chevrolet 7 laps Rene Munnich Munnich SEAT 3 laps Rob Huff Munnich SEAT 1 lap James Thompson Lada 1 lap Fernando Monje Campos SEAT 1 lap