The action gets underway at Morocco

Our good friend, ROAL Motorsport driver Tom Coronel, took in some of the sights and sounds of Marrakech – host venue of this weekend’s third round of the World Touring Car Championship season – before taking us on a hot lap of the challenging street circuit.

It’s a very challenging circuit indeed, and we’re bound to see lots of incidents over the next two days!

Chevrolet’s Rob Huff posted the fastest lap in Friday’s 30-minute test session at Marrakech; however it was Tom Chilton who created a surprise, emerging as second quickest in his Team Aon Ford Focus.

All drivers had a very cautious approach on their first outing on the North African street circuit, and this was proved by the fact that no incidents were reported during the session, except for Isaac Tutumlu’s spin at Turn 7 on his first lap out in his Proteam BMW.

Lap time improvements were steady and consistent over the session. Local hero Mehdi Bennani posted a 1:51.752 in the early stages, but ultimate it was Huff who went quickest with a 1:46.285, some eight-tenths up on Chilton.

For the first time a Ford Focus car fought for top places, as Chilton was timed at 1:47.114 that was provisionally the fastest lap until Huff eclipsed his effort on his final tour.

Chevrolet’s Alain Menu (1:47.202) and Lukoil SEAT’s Gabriele Tarquini (1:47.309) ranked third and fourth respectively, with Alex MacDowall (1:47.655) in fifth and best of the Yokohama Independent Trophy runners in his Bamboo Engineering Chevrolet.

Reigning champion and current point leader Yvan Muller posted the seventh best time (1:48.016) followed by the fastest BMW, Franz Engstler (1:48.108) in the Liqui Moly entry. Local hero Bennani was classified fourteenth-fastest (1:49.324), while Coronel ended the day ninth-quickest.


2012 FIA WTCC Race of Morocco Test Session Times:

Driver Team Best Lap YIT
1. Robert Huff GBR RML Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T Chevrolet 1:46.285  
2. Tom Chilton GBR Team Aon Ford Focus S2000 TC Ford 1:47.114  
3. Alain Menu SUI RML Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T Chevrolet 1:47.202  
4. Gabriele Tarquini ITA Lukoil Racing SEAT León WTCC SEAT 1:47.309  
5. Alex MacDowell GBR Bamboo Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T Chevrolet 1:47.655 Y
6. Darryl O’Young HKG Special Tune Racing SEAT León WTCC SEAT 1:47.760 Y
7. Yvan Muller FRA RML Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T Chevrolet 1:48.016  
8. Franz Engstler DEU Liqui Moly Engstler BMW 320TC BMW 1:48.108 Y
9. Tom Coronel NED ROAL Motorsport BMW 320TC BMW 1:48.134  
10. Pepe Oriola ESP Tuenti Racing Team SEAT León WTCC SEAT 1:48.401 Y
11. Stefano D’Aste ITA Wiechers-Sport BMW 320TC BMW 1:48.432 Y
12. Tiago Monteiro POR Tuenti Racing SR León 1.6T Sunred 1:48.703  
13. James Nash GBR Team Aon Ford Focus S2000 TC Ford 1:48.978 Y
14. Mehdi Bennani MOR Proteam Racing BMW 320TC BMW 1:49.324 Y
15. Alberto Cerqui ITA ROAL Motorsport BMW 320TC BMW 1:49.523 Y
16. Norbert Michelisz HUN Zengõ Motorsport BMW 320TC BMW 1:50.152 Y
17. Charles Ka-Ki Ng HKG Liqui Moly Engstler BMW 320TC BMW 1:50.208 Y
18. Aleksei Dudukalo RUS Lukoil Racing SEAT León WTCC SEAT 1:50.238 Y
19. Tom Boardman GBR Special Tune Racing SEAT León TDi SEAT 1:50.872 Y
20. Isaac Tutumlu ESP Proteam Racing BMW 320TC BMW 1:51.277 Y
21. Pasquale di Sabatino ITA Bamboo Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T Chevrolet 1:51.985 Y
22. Andrea Barlesi BEL SUNRED Engineering SR León 1.6T Sunred 1:54.947 Y



The drivers will hit the track again tomorrow morning for two 30-minute practice sessions (9.30 and 12.15), while qualifying will start at 16.15 local time.

As usual, RichardsF1.com will be providing you with the latest news and analysis from Marrakech!

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Richard Bailey

Founder & Chief Editor at MotorsportM8
Hasn't missed a Grand Prix since 1989. Has a soft spot for Minardi. Tattooed with 35+ Grand Prix circuits.

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