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WTCC NEWS 

Morocco WTCC: Yvan Muller leads Citroen 1-2-3 in Marrakech practice

Muller Marrakech

Yvan Muller emerged from a close contest with Citroen team-mate Jose Maria Lopez to top the second World Touring Car Championship free practice session in Marrakech.

Lopez's effort of 1m43.500s moved the Argentine triple TC2000 champion half a second clear of Muller shortly after the mid-way mark of the half hour session.

Reigning WTCC champion Muller waited until the final minute before offering a response. The Frenchman's time of 1m43.437s edged out Lopez by 0.063s.

As in Friday's test, Citroen's Elysee model locked out the top-three positions, with practice one pacesetter Sebastien Loeb taking third spot.

Tom Chilton was fastest non-Citroen in fourth. On his maiden outing for ROAL Motorsport, Chilton headed fellow Chevrolet Cruze runners and Campos team-mates Dusan Borkovic and Hugo Valente.

The session was interrupted by a lengthy delay owing to a collision involving Italian former grand prix drivers Gabriele Tarquini and Gianni Morbidelli.

Tarquini's Honda initiated the incident by overshooting the approach to the Turn 4 chicane. Unable to make the turn-in, the 2009 WTCC champion took to the asphalt run-off before slowing to rejoin the track.

Morbidelli appeared to straight-line the chicane, possibly in an attempt to stay in the middle of the road and away from Tarquini, but instead launched his Munnich Motorsport Cruze on kerbing and bounced straight into the stationary Honda.

Tarquini is believed to be ruled out of Saturday's qualifying session owing to accident damage, and his participation in Sunday's races is also in doubt.

Repairs to the kerbing resulted in close to a half-hour delay to the session. At the time of the stoppage, Citroen drivers were already firmly established in the top-three positions. Muller sat quickest on a 1m44.073, 0.664s ahead of Lopez, who was in turn 1.622s ahead of Loeb.

Tarquini was best of the rest in fourth, albeit 3.138s behind Muller. The Italian would slip to an eventual 12th. Fellow former WTCC champion Rob Huff again showed well for Lada, securing seventh fastest time.

Lopez and team-mate Loeb were among several drivers to take to escape roads, and the Turn 4 chicane, before a 180-degree curve onto the back-straight, proved a particular problem location.

Tom Coronel's presence in practice two had been in doubt owing to damage sustained to the Dutch veteran's Cruze in the morning session. The over-run to the session caused by the Tarquini/Morbidelli accident allowed Coronel to squeeze in three laps before the chequered flag.

Pos  Driver                Team/Car           Time       Gap
 1.  Yvan Muller           Citroen            1m43.437s
 2.  Jose Maria Lopez      Citroen            1m43.500s  +0.063s
 3.  Sébastien Loeb        Citroen            1m44.572s  +1.135s
 4.  Tom Chilton           ROAL Chevrolet     1m44.975s  +1.538s
 5.  Dusan Borkovic        Campos Chevrolet   1m45.264s  +1.827s
 6.  Hugo Valente          Campos Chevrolet   1m45.528s  +2.091s
 7.  Rob Huff              Lada               1m45.695s  +2.258s
 8.  Mehdi Bennani         Proteam Honda      1m46.154s  +2.717s
 9.  Rene Munnich          Munnich Chevrolet  1m46.254s  +2.817s
10.  Norbert Michelisz     Zengo Honda        1m47.030s  +3.593s
11.  Tiago Monteiro        Honda              1m47.173s  +3.736s
12.  Gabriele Tarquini     Honda              1m47.211s  +3.774s
13.  Mikhail Kozlovskiy    Lada               1m47.525s  +4.088s
14.  James Thompson        Lada               1m48.772s  +5.335s
15.  Franz Engstler        Engstler BMW       1m49.802s  +6.365s*
16.  Petr Fulin            Campos SEAT        1m49.971s  +6.534s*
17.  Pasquale di Sabatino  Engstler BMW       1m50.888s  +7.451s*
18.  John Filippi          Campos SEAT        1m54.109s  +10.672s*
19.  Tom Coronel           ROAL Chevrolet     2m02.701s  +19.264s
20.  Gianni Morbidelli     Munnich Chevrolet  2m04.145s  +20.708s

* TC2
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