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WTCC NEWS 

Marrakech WTCC: Pepe Oriola becomes youngest ever winner

Pepe Oriola wins Marrakech WTCC race 2013Pepe 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
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