An overjoyed Oriola celebrates his maiden WTCC win

The Race of Morocco was a weekend of ‘firsts’ in the FIA World Touring Car Championship. On Saturday we saw Gabriele Tarquini claim Honda’s first pole position, and in today’s opening race, Michel Nykjær claimed his first outright win.

In Race 2, it was another Independent Trophy driver who did the honours, and it came in the form of teenage sensation Pepe Oriola, who has promised much in his short top-flight career with SEAT.

His win came by dint of an opening lap pass on teammate Fernando Monje, and from there he stoked it home, holding off the RML Chevrolets of Yvan Muller and Tom Chilton to secure his first career win in the WTCC.

Race 2 polesitter Monje had a more fraught time of it, and quickly threw away his chances of a strong result when he tried to defend against a fast-starting Rob Huff into the final corner, pinching the Englishman into the barriers and instant retirement with broken suspension.

The Spaniard wasn’t done yet, and just a few corners later he collected the back of James Thompson’s LADA. Both were eliminated on the spot, much to Thompson’s disgust.

The accidents promoted Muller into second place, followed by the Bamboo Engineering Chevrolet of James Nash, but Nash was quickly overcome by Chilton and Marc Basseng in the SEAT.

Nash and Basseng continued an entertaining scrap for fourth place for the remainder of the race, which was ultimately resolved in the Chevrolet driver’s favour.

Oriola held his nerve against the RML Chevrolets to claim victoryUp at the front, Muller and Chilton continued to press Oriola hard, but their progress was interrupted with another Safety Car appearance. This time it was triggered by a collision between Gabriele Tarquini and Alex MacDowall. The Italian launched his Honda over the Turn 13 kerbs and clobbered the Englishman’s Chevrolet, putting both into instant retirement.

The Safety Car remained out until the end of the penultimate lap, giving Oriola a single flying lap in which to hold off Muller and Chilton – the pair crossed the line covered by six-tenths of a second.

Fourth-placed Nash claimed the Independent Trophy win ahead of Basseng, while Tom Coronel was again the best of the BMWs in sixth place, holding off Race 1 winner Michel Nykjær. Franz Engstler, Darryl O’Young and Charles Ng completed the final points-paying positions.

At the end of another entertaining round in Morocco, the field now packs up and heads to Slovakia for the third round of the championship in the final weekend of April. Muller continues to lead the Drivers’ Championship table, now with an extended margin of 37 points to Nykjær and Tarquini, who share second place in the standings.

2013 FIA WTCC Race of Morocco – Race 2 Final Classification (13 laps):

Driver Team Result YIT
1. Pepe Oriola ESP Tuenti Racing Team SEAT León WTCC SEAT 28:08.751  
2. Yvan Muller FRA RML Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T Chevrolet + 0.430  
3. Tom Chilton GBR RML Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T Chevrolet + 0.677  
4. James Nash GBR Bamboo Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T Chevrolet + 0.948 Y
5. Marc Basseng DEU Münnich Motorsport SEAT León WTCC SEAT + 1.808  
6. Tom Coronel NED ROAL Motorsport BMW 320TC BMW + 2.028
7. Michel Nykjær DEN NIKA Racing Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T Chevrolet + 2.326 Y
8. Franz Engstler DEU Liqui Moly Engstler BMW 320TC BMW + 4.377 Y
9. Darryl O’Young HKG ROAL Motorsport BMW 320TC BMW + 4.889 Y
10. Charles Ka-Ki Ng HKG Liqui Moly Engstler BMW 320TC BMW + 6.273 Y
11. Mehdi Bennani MOR Scuderia Proteam BMW 320TC BMW + 6.349 Y
12. Fredy Barth SUI Wiechers-Sport BMW 320TC BMW + 6.385 Y
13. Mikhail Kozlowskiy RUS LADA Sport Granta LADA + 7.037
14. Stefano D’Aste ITA PB Sport BMW 320TC BMW + 7.698 Y
15. Norbert Michelisz HUN Zengõ Motorsport Honda Civic WTCC Honda + 4 laps
  Not Classified Result  
DNF. Gabriele Tarquini ITA Castrol Honda Civic WTCC Honda 7 laps  
DNF. Alex MacDowall GBR Bamboo Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T Chevrolet 7 laps Y
DNF. René Münnich DEU Münnich Motorsport SEAT León WTCC SEAT 3 laps Y
DNF. Robert Huff GBR Münnich Motorsport SEAT León WTCC SEAT 1 lap  
DNF. James Thompson GBR LADA Sport Granta LADA 1 lap  
DNF. Fernando Monje ESP Campos Racing Team SEAT León WTCC SEAT 1 lap Y
DNS. Tiago Monteiro POR Castrol Honda Civic WTCC Honda  
WD. Tom Boardman GBR Special Tune Racing SEAT León WTCC SEAT Withdrew Y

“Y” denotes Yokohama Independent Trophy competitor.

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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.