WTCR Marrakech: Esteban Guerrieri fastest in free practice

Honda driver Esteban Guerrieri set the pace in practice ahead of the first round of the new World Touring Car Cup in Marrakech

WTCR Marrakech: Esteban Guerrieri fastest in free practice

Guerrieri spent the majority of the final 10 minutes of the second half-hour session in third, but he set a personal best time in the first sector and was fastest of all in the second and jumped to the head of the pile as the chequered flag fell.

Overnight rain meant the circuit was wet at the start of first practice but, although a fresh shower at the end of first practice and in the lead up to FP2 meant the circuit remained damp, times gradually fell away.

Guerrieri's fastest FP2 time, a 1m31.655s, put him 0.052 seconds ahead of Munnich Motorsport team-mate Yann Ehrlacher as conditions improved.

That best lap compared to the 1m22.234s Norbert Michelisz set in his TC1 Honda Civic in the second World Touring Car Championship practice session at the same venue a year earlier, which was held in dry conditions.

Ehrlacher, the nephew of four-time WTCC champion Yvan Muller, was a quarter of a second clear of third place man Thed Bjork, who had set the earlier set the pace in the damper first practice in his Hyundai i30 N.

Bjork looked as though he might have grabbed top spot again with his final lap in FP2, but a slow middle sector negated the fastest times of all he managed over the rest of the lap and limited him to third.

The similar BRC Racing Hyundai of Gabriele Tarquini was fourth, ahead of the leading Cupra of Pepe Oriola and TCR International Series champion Jean-Karl Vernay.

Rob Huff was seventh in his Sebastien Loeb Racing Volkswagen Golf GTi, with Aurelien Comte putting his Peugeot 308TCR eighth and 18-year-old Benjamin Lessennes ninth in his Boutsen Ginion Honda Civic.

Three-time British Touring Car champion Gordon Shedden was 24th in the first session, but improved to 10th in FP2 in his first practice sessions as a World Touring Car driver.

Last year's WTCC champion Bjork recorded a 1m32.821s in first practice, which left him with a 0.041s advantage over team-mate Muller.

Huff was third fastest in that session, seven hundredths off the pace, while Oriola and Vernay completed the top five ahead of the third and fourth Hyundais of BRC drivers Norbert Michelisz and Tarquini.

Michelisz brought out the only red flag in either session when he stopped his i30 N on the run to the final two corners, and was the only runner not to set a competitive time in FP2.

A number of drivers were caught out at the Turn 4/5 chicane and the Turn 7 stop at the end of the back straight in both sessions, including Zengo Motorsport's Zsolt David Szabo - who damaged his suspension on his final lap before hitting the Turn 7 barrier at the end of the first session.

FP1 times

Pos Driver Team Car Gap Laps
1 Thed Bjork YMR Hyundai 1m32.821s 16
2 Yvan Muller YMR Hyundai 0.041s 15
3 Rob Huff Sebastien Loeb Racing Volkswagen 0.070s 16
4 Pepe Oriola Campos Racing Cupra 0.258s 17
5 Jean-Karl Vernay WRT Audi 0.411s 17
6 Norbert Michelisz BRC Racing Team Hyundai 0.494s 15
7 Gabriele Tarquini BRC Racing Team Hyundai 0.519s 15
8 Yann Ehrlacher Munnich Motorsport Honda 0.578s 15
9 Fabrizio Giovanardi Team Mulsanne Alfa Romeo 0.908s 15
10 Esteban Guerrieri Munnich Motorsport Honda 0.958s 13
11 James Thompson Munnich Motorsport Honda 0.976s 16
12 Nathanael Berthon Comtoyou Racing Audi 1.015s 16
13 Gianni Morbidelli Team Mulsanne Alfa Romeo 1.208s 13
14 Benjamin Lessennes Boutsen Ginion Racing Honda 1.355s 14
15 Mehdi Bennani Sebastien Loeb Racing Volkswagen 1.450s 15
16 Norbert Nagy Zengo Motorsport Cupra 1.615s 13
17 Tom Coronel Boutsen Ginion Racing Honda 1.638s 10
18 John Filippi Campos Racing Cupra 1.695s 14
19 Frederic Vervisch Comtoyou Racing Audi 1.729s 16
20 Aurelien Comte DG Sport Competition Peugeot 1.776s 11
21 Aurelien Panis Comtoyou Racing Audi 1.936s 14
22 Denis Dupont Comtoyou Racing Audi 2.110s 16
23 Mat'o Homola DG Sport Competition Peugeot 2.127s 11
24 Gordon Shedden WRT Audi 2.598s 10
25 Zsolt Szabo Zengo Motorsport Cupra 3.575s 15

FP2 times

Pos Driver Team Car Gap Laps
1 Esteban Guerrieri Munnich Motorsport Honda 1m31.655s 14
2 Yann Ehrlacher Munnich Motorsport Honda 0.052s 17
3 Thed Bjork YMR Hyundai 0.301s 14
4 Gabriele Tarquini BRC Racing Team Hyundai 0.518s 13
5 Pepe Oriola Campos Racing Cupra 0.890s 14
6 Jean-Karl Vernay WRT Audi 0.950s 16
7 Rob Huff Sebastien Loeb Racing Volkswagen 0.977s 16
8 Aurelien Comte DG Sport Competition Peugeot 1.020s 17
9 Benjamin Lessennes Boutsen Ginion Racing Honda 1.132s 16
10 Gordon Shedden WRT Audi 1.200s 17
11 James Thompson Munnich Motorsport Honda 1.223s 15
12 Yvan Muller YMR Hyundai 1.275s 14
13 Tom Coronel Boutsen Ginion Racing Honda 1.293s 16
14 Mehdi Bennani Sebastien Loeb Racing Volkswagen 1.310s 16
15 Fabrizio Giovanardi Team Mulsanne Alfa Romeo 1.532s 14
16 Aurelien Panis Comtoyou Racing Audi 1.614s 14
17 Norbert Nagy Zengo Motorsport Cupra 1.655s 14
18 Mat'o Homola DG Sport Competition Peugeot 1.712s 15
19 John Filippi Campos Racing Cupra 1.739s 14
20 Denis Dupont Comtoyou Racing Audi 1.762s 18
21 Nathanael Berthon Comtoyou Racing Audi 1.913s 16
22 Zsolt Szabo Zengo Motorsport Cupra 1.980s 13
23 Gianni Morbidelli Team Mulsanne Alfa Romeo 2.000s 14
24 Frederic Vervisch Comtoyou Racing Audi 2.614s 14
25 Norbert Michelisz BRC Racing Team Hyundai 9.791s 2


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Series WTCR
Drivers Esteban Guerrieri
Author Jack Cozens
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