The Citroën Racing squad predictably dominated proceedings once again in Sunday’s running of the second round of the 2015 FIA World Touring Car Championship season on the streets of Marrakech.

Reigning champion José María López cruised to a straightforward victory in the opening race, while teammate and four-time champion Yvan Muller claimed victory in Race 2 to continue the works team’s undefeated run this season.


Just as he’d done on his Citroën Racing debut a year ago, López led the first race from start to finish while teammate Ma Qing Hua played rear gunner after losing out to the Argentine on the sprint to the first corner.

The start saw Hugo Valente stall his Campos Racing Chevrolet from twelfth on the grid as the lights went out, but those behind him managed to get around him without any incident.

Further ahead, Ma managed to vault from third on the grid to briefly challenge López on the sprint to Turn 1, while local hero Mehdi Bennani fell from second to fourth behind Ma and Sébastien Loeb within the first four corners of the opening lap.

Race 1 start

Lopez held of teammate Ma Qing Hua at the first corner.

A fer corners later and the luckless Tom Coronel was out of the race with broken right front suspension after copping a ‘friendly fire’ hit by ROAL Motorsport teammate Tom Chilton. The Dutchman was left to frustratedly watch his mechanics frantically try and repair his car in time for Race 2 (where he would start from the front row) while Chilton was ultimately hit with a 30-second post-race time penalty that demoted him out of a points’ finish.

Former champion Muller was making handy progress from tenth on the grid and had climbed up to sixth behind Tiago Monteiro by the third lap. Monteiro gamely kept the Frenchman behind him for a further six laps before the Citroën was finally able to get by the Honda at Turn 4. By that point, the leading four Citroëns were too far ahead for Muller to make any real headway.

Up at the front, López kept a narrow lead from Ma, while the battle for third between Loeb and Bennani had the crowds on their feet. Try as he might, Bennani could not make an overtaking move against Loeb – who owns the team Bennani races for – stick. A late braking attempt at Turn 4 on Lap 9 saw him go off track and emerge ahead of Loeb, but he handed the position back upon instruction from the stewards. He had one other crack on the penultimate lap, but only succeeded in outbraking himself and losing more time to the nine-time World Rally Champion.

López went on to claim an assured victory and given Citroën its first 1-2-3-4-5 sweep. Monteiro and Honda teammate Gabriele Tarquini were a distant sixth and seventh ahead of the privateer Honda of Norbert Michelisz.

Stefano D’Aste was the best-placed of the Chevrolet runners in ninth, finishing ahead of Chilton, whose subsequent post-race penalty promoted LADA’s Rob Huff into tenth to give the Russian carmakers its first top-ten finish with its new Vesta model.

You can watch the full recording of Race 1 by clicking here.


2015 FIA WTCC Race of Morocco – Race 1 Final Classification (14 laps)
Driver Team / Entry Laps Result
1. José María López Citroën Total WTCC C-Elysée 14 24:31.802
2. Ma Qing Hua Citroën Total WTCC C-Elysée 14 + 0.942
3. Sébastien Loeb Citroën Total WTCC C-Elysée 14 + 4.492
4. Mehdi Bennani Sebastien Loeb Racing Citroën C-Elysée 14 + 5.405
5. Yvan Muller fr Citroën Total WTCC C-Elysée 14 + 21.617
6. Tiago Monteiro Honda Racing Team JAS Civic WTCC 14 + 22.986
7. Gabriele Tarquini it Honda Racing Team JAS Civic WTCC 14 + 23.410
8. Norbert Michelisz Zengõ Motorsport Honda Civic WTCC 14 + 24.799
9. Stefano D’Aste it Münnich Motorsport Chevrolet RML Cruze 14 + 26.904
10. Rob Huff uk LADA Sport Rosneft Vesta WTCC 14 + 35.044
11. James Thompson uk LADA Sport Rosneft Vesta WTCC 14 + 45.222
12. Mikhail Kozlovskiy ru LADA Sport Rosneft Vesta WTCC 14 + 53.650
13. John Filippi Campos Racing Chevrolet RML Cruze 14 + 54.397
14. Tom Chilton* uk ROAL Motorsport Chevrolet RML Cruze 14 + 1:00.552
15. Hugo Valente Campos Racing Chevrolet RML Cruze 11 + 3 laps
Not Classified Team / Entry Laps Result
DNF. Grégoire Demoustier Craft-Bamboo Racing Chevrolet RML Cruze 8 Brakes
DNF. Tom Coronel nl ROAL Motorsport Chevrolet RML Cruze 1 Accident
WD. Dušan Borković Proteam Racing Honda Civic WTCC Withdrew
WD. Rickard Rydell NIKA Racing Honda Civic WTCC Unwell

* Awarded a 30-second drive-through penalty (applied as a post-race time penalty) for causing an avoidable collision with Tom Coronel.


Yvan Muller, Citroen Racing - 2015 Race of Morocco

Muller reignited his quest for a fifth WTCC crown with victory in Race 2.

Yvan Muller converted a reverse-grid pole position into victory in Race 2, but it was a hard-fought affair featuring a race-long battle with teammate Sébastien Loeb.

The ROAL Motorsport mechanics managed a hast repair effort to get Muller’s fellow front-row starter, Tom Coronel, onto the grid for the second race after he was taken out of the opening race by teammate Tom Chilton.

But once again the Dutchman’s terrible run of form in Morocco came to a head. On the run into the first corner, the veteran was tipped into a spin by Norbert Michelisz and straight into the path of Tiago Monteiro.

Coronel was pitched into the concrete wall and instant retirement, while Monteiro managed to limp back to the pits for a fruitless assessment of the damage to his own car.

The Lap 1 drama wasn’t over. LADA’s Mikhail Kozlovskiy suffered a suspected brake failure on approach to the final hairpin and slammed into the back of teammate Rob Huff. Both were also out on the spot.

Despite these incidents, the race was not halted for a Safety Car and so that allowed Muller and Loeb to build an early lead over the two Chevrolets of Tom Chilton and Hugo Valente, who momentarily kept the other two works Citroëns of José María López and Ma Qing Hua at bay.

Valente’s clean yet spirited defence managed to keep López behind for four laps, until he made a mistake at the final corner to allow the World Champion and his Chinese teammate to slip by.

Chilton was next up, but he only lasted a lap before López calmly swept around the outside of the final corner to move into third place, where he would finish the race and consolidate his championship lead.

Ma overtook Chilton a lap later, but made a mistake on the very next lap at Turn 4 and hit the tyre barriers, dropping to the rear of the field.

Seconds later and at the same corner, Mehdi Bennani and Hugo Valente had the first of what would be two collisions in the race. The Moroccan made a move on the Frenchman’s Chevrolet under braking, but in his attempt to move onto the normal racing line at the approach to the corner, he chopped across Valente’s nose and was tipped into a spin.

Bennani charged hard to close back up to Valente by the penultimate lap, and this time made a wild lunge down the inside at the same corner. Valente either didn’t see Bennani or chose to shut the door, resulting in another contact.

Valente was able to continue on to finish in fifth place, while a battle-scarred Bennani was unable to keep Zengő’s Norbert Michelisz behind on the back straight, nor Münnich Motorsport’s Stefano D’Aste and Honda’s Gabriele Tarquini, who both passed him before the final corner – Tarquini also managed to elbow his way ahead of D’Aste on the sprint to the finish line.

Post-race time penalties for Michelisz (for hitting Coronel), plus Valente and Bennani (for hitting each other) saw Chilton promoted to fourth, while Tarquini and D’Aste completed the top-six.

James Thompson gave the sole remaining LADA Vesta another points’ finish with seventh place ahead of John Filippi, the penalised Valente and the recovering Ma. Just eleven cars saw the chequered flag.

You can watch the full recording of Race by clicking here.

Round 3 of the 2015 season takes place in two weeks’ time at the Hungaroring on May 9-10, although the field will make a quick stopover at the Nürburgring Nordschleife on Tuesday May 5 for a one-day test ahead of the series’ inaugural race at the 14-mile ‘Green Hell’ later next month.


2015 FIA WTCC Race of Morocco – Race 2 Final Classification (14 laps)
Driver Team / Entry Laps Result
1. Yvan Muller fr Citroën Total WTCC C-Elysée 14 24:22.255
2. Sébastien Loeb Citroën Total WTCC C-Elysée 14 + 0.522
3. José María López Citroën Total WTCC C-Elysée 14 + 18.113
4. Tom Chilton uk ROAL Motorsport Chevrolet RML Cruze 14 + 22.754
5. Gabriele Tarquini it Honda Racing Team JAS Civic WTCC 14 + 39.496
6. Stefano D’Aste it Münnich Motorsport Chevrolet RML Cruze 14 + 40.215
7. James Thompson uk LADA Sport Rosneft Vesta WTCC 14 + 54.634
8. John Filippi Campos Racing Chevrolet RML Cruze 14 + 55.245
9. Hugo Valente* Campos Racing Chevrolet RML Cruze 11 + 56.490
10. Ma Qing Hua Citroën Total WTCC C-Elysée 14 + 59.952
11. Norbert Michelisz* Zengõ Motorsport Honda Civic WTCC 14 + 1:07.677
12. Mehdi Bennani* Sebastien Loeb Racing Citroën C-Elysée 14 + 1:10.653
Not Classified Team / Entry Laps Result
DNF. Grégoire Demoustier Craft-Bamboo Racing Chevrolet RML Cruze 10 Brakes
DNF. Rob Huff uk LADA Sport Rosneft Vesta WTCC 1 Collision
DNF. Tiago Monteiro Honda Racing Team JAS Civic WTCC 1 Collision
DNF. Mikhail Kozlovskiy ru LADA Sport Rosneft Vesta WTCC 0 Collision
DNF. Tom Coronel nl ROAL Motorsport Chevrolet RML Cruze 0 Collision
WD. Dušan Borković Proteam Racing Honda Civic WTCC Withdrew
WD. Rickard Rydell NIKA Racing Honda Civic WTCC Unwell

* Awarded a 30-second drive-through penalty (applied as a post-race time penalty) for causing an avoidable collision.


Image via Citroën Communications and FIA WTCC Media

The following two tabs change content below.

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.

Latest posts by Richard Bailey (see all)

Share