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:
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!