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WTCR Marrakech: Bjork tops second practice for Cyan, Guerrieri P2

Thed Bjork put Cyan Racing's new Lynk & Co 03 on top in second practice for the 2019 World Touring Car Cup season opener in Marrakech

Bjork, the 2017 World Touring Car champion, set a best time of 1m25.308s in a session where all but three cars were covered by less than a second.

While air temperatures hovered at around 12C, sunshine between first and second practice helped dry out damp spots that remained on the circuit, and it took WRT's Jean-Karl Vernay less than 10 minutes to beat Aurelien Panis's 1m25.841s benchmark from FP1.

Reigning champion Gabriele Tarquini spent much of the first half of the 30-minute session in the pits, but vaulted his BRC Hyundai i30 N to the top of the times with a 1m25.625s.

That effort was then toppled by Tiago Monteiro, Tarquini's BRC stablemate Norbert Michelisz and Esteban Guerrieri, before Bjork hit the front by going a tenth and a half faster than the Munnich Motorsport Honda Civic Type R.

The session was then red flagged with four and a half minutes left on the clock when Tom Coronel briefly stopped on track after his front-right tyre went down at the first corner - a minute or so after Gordon Shedden had also suffered a puncture at the same spot.

But Coronel got going again and was able to limp his Comtoyou Cupra back to the pits, allowing the drivers one final attempt at a qualifying simulation run.

Guerrieri looked as though he might trouble Bjork's top spot with a fastest first sector of all on his first flying lap back out on track, but ultimately backed out of that effort.

The Argentinian did go faster on his final run, but an effort of 1m25.402s left him 0.094 seconds down - meaning Bjork, who took pole for the opening WTCR race in Marrakech last season, ended FP2 on top.

Bjork's Cyan team-mate Yvan Muller jumped up to third late on, a further 0.038s back from Guerrieri, while Norbert Michelisz was the fastest of Hyundai's contenders in fourth.

Monteiro maintained a strong start to his first weekend back in World Touring Cars on a full-time basis by again going fifth fastest in his KCMG Honda.

Tarquini's early benchmark time was good enough for sixth in the final FP2 order ahead of Yann Ehrlacher - whose mirror fell off and had to be collected by marshals under a full-course yellow - and FP1 pacesetter Panis (Comtoyou Cupra).

The PWR Cupra of Mikel Azcona and Vernay's Audi RS3 LMS completed the top 10, with both within half a second of Bjork.

Rob Huff was again the fastest of the Volkswagen contingent in 11th in his Sebastien Loeb Racing Golf GTI, while Kevin Ceccon improved compared to FP1 in Team Mulsanne's leading Alfa Romeo Giulietta Veloce to finish the session 13th.

Three-time World Touring Car champion Andy Priaulx was the final driver within a second of Bjork, reporting on his final run that he had "a bit of play in the first part of my brake pedal" in his Lynk & Co 03.

FP2 times

Pos Driver Team Car Gap Laps
1 Thed Bjork Cyan Racing Lynk & Co 1m25.308s 12
2 Esteban Guerrieri Munnich Motorsport Honda 0.094s 12
3 Yvan Muller Cyan Racing Lynk & Co 0.132s 9
4 Norbert Michelisz BRC Squadra Corse Hyundai 0.190s 13
5 Tiago Monteiro KCMG Honda 0.202s 17
6 Gabriele Tarquini BRC Squadra Corse Hyundai 0.317s 8
7 Yann Ehrlacher Cyan Performance Lynk & Co 0.428s 15
8 Aurelien Panis Comtoyou Cupra Cupra 0.446s 14
9 Mikel Azcona PWR Racing Cupra 0.458s 17
10 Jean-Karl Vernay WRT Audi 0.468s 13
11 Rob Huff SLR VW Motorsport Volkswagen 0.523s 13
12 Nicky Catsburg BRC Racing Team Hyundai 0.541s 12
13 Kevin Ceccon Team Mulsanne Alfa Romeo 0.549s 17
14 Nestor Girolami Munnich Motorsport Honda 0.550s 13
15 Augusto Farfus BRC Racing Team Hyundai 0.591s 16
16 Gordon Shedden WRT Audi 0.659s 11
17 Tom Coronel Comtoyou Cupra Cupra 0.715s 13
18 Attila Tassi KCMG Honda 0.723s 17
19 Frederic Vervisch Comtoyou Audi Audi 0.810s 10
20 Johan Kristoffersson SLR Volkswagen Volkswagen 0.818s 15
21 Daniel Haglof PWR Racing Cupra 0.843s 13
22 Mehdi Bennani SLR VW Motorsport Volkswagen 0.876s 13
23 Andy Priaulx Cyan Performance Lynk & Co 0.892s 14
24 Ma Qinghua Team Mulsanne Alfa Romeo 1.049s 15
25 Niels Langeveld Comtoyou Audi Audi 1.164s 15
26 Benjamin Leuchter SLR Volkswagen Volkswagen 1.536s 13


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