Gabriele Tarquini has continued his race-winning form by claiming pole position for the final race of the inaugural FIA World Touring Car Cup round in Marrakech.
The Italian posted the fastest time of the weekend in the Q3 shootout for pole position, posting a 1:24.316 time around the 2.971-kilometre Moulay El Hassan circuit in his BRC Racinf Hyundai i30 N.
Tarquini led a Hyundai rout of qualifying, with all four entries making it into the final one-lap dash for pole. His final sector time was good enough to get him ahead of Muller’s provisional pole effort by a scant 0.080-second margin.
The second row was locked out by their respective teammates, Norbert Michelisz and Race 1 pole-winner Thed Björk – the latter was fastest in the top-twelve Q2 session.
Münnich Motorsport’s Yann Ehrlacher, the nephew of Muller, was the only non-Hyundai runner to make it into Q3. He was the slowest of the session’s five runners and will start from the third row of the grid for Race 3.
Rob Huff missed out on making it into Q3 by just 0.005 seconds and will line up from sixth place in his Sébastien Loeb Racing VW ahead of teammate and crowd favourite Mehdi Bennani.
James Thompson qualified a strong eighth-fastest in the second Münnich Motorsport Honda, outpacing the WRT Audi of Jean-Karl Vernay and Campos Racing Cupra of Pepe Oriola. With the top-ten qualifiers’ starting positions reversed for Race 2, Oriola and Vernay will line up on the front row of the grid.
Oriola bumped the second WRT Audi of Gordon Shedden out of the reversed-grid pole in the dying minutes of Q2, consigning the Scot to 11th on the grid for both Sunday races ahead of fellow Audi runner Frédéric Vervisch.
Esteban Guerrieri was the sole Münnich Motorsport Honda not to make it beyond Q1 thanks to a late flying lap from Shedden which knocked the Argentine into the elimination zone by 0.022 seconds.
The opening qualifying session was interrupted by a red flag when Denis Dupont buried his Comtoyou Audi in the barriers at Turn 1. Also in the barriers was the Peugeot of Mat’o Homola, who damaged his car at the Turn 4/5 chicane but still qualified 16th-fastest. His teammate Aurélien Comte could not repeat his Saturday qualifying heroics and will start 18th.
The Alfa Romeo pairing of Fabrizio Giovanardi and Gianni Morbidelli both struggled once again in qualifying and will start both Sunday races from 23rd and 25th respectively.
Race 2, to be held over 18 laps, will occur at 16:45 local time where the fastest ten qualifiers’ grid positions are reversed. Race 3, to be held over 21 laps, starts at 18:10 local time (GMT +1)
|2018 FIA World Touring Car Cup Race of Morocco – Race 2 & 3 Final Qualifying Results|
|1.||Gabriele Tarquini||BRC Racing Team||1:24.316|
|2.||Yvan Muller||MRacing – YMR||1:24.396||+ 0.080|
|3.||Norbert Michelisz||BRC Racing Team||1:24.540||+ 0.224|
|4.||Thed Björk||MRacing – YMR||1:24.653||+ 0.337|
|5.||Yann Ehrlacher||ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport||1:24.797||+ 0.481|
|6.||Rob Huff||Sébastien Loeb Racing||1:24.743||+ 0.351|
|7.||Mehdi Bennani||Sébastien Loeb Racing||1:24.789||+ 0.397|
|8.||James Thompson||ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport||1:24.807||+ 0.415|
|9.||Jean-Karl Vernay||Audi Sport Leopard Lukoil Team||1:24.910||+ 0.518|
|10.||Pepe Oriola||Team OSCARO by Campos Racing||1:25.067||+ 0.675|
|11.||Gordon Shedden||Audi Sport Leopard Lukoil Team||1:25.151||+ 0.759|
|12.||Frédéric Vervisch||Audi Sport Team Comtoyou||1:25.201||+ 0.809|
|13.||Esteban Guerrieri||ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport||1:25.361||+ 0.627|
|14.||Tom Coronel||Boutsen Ginion Racing||1:25.407||+ 0.673|
|15.||John Filippi||Team OSCARO by Campos Racing||1:25.420||+ 0.686|
|16.||Mat’o Homola||DG Sport Compétition||1:25.423||+ 0.689|
|17.||Benjamin Lessennes||Boutsen Ginion Racing||1:25.459||+ 0.725|
|18.||Aurélien Comte||DG Sport Compétition||1:25.531||+ 0.797|
|19.||Zsolt Dávid Szabó||Zengõ Motorsport||1:25.762||+ 1.028|
|20.||Nathanaël Berthon||Comtoyou Racing||1:25.828||+ 1.094|
|21.||Denis Dupont||Comtoyou Racing||1:25.906||+ 1.172|
|22.||Norbert Nagy||Zengõ Motorsport||1:26.002||+ 1.268|
|23.||Fabrizio Giovanardi||Mulsanne SRL||1:26.064||+ 1.330|
|24.||Aurélien Panis||Comtoyou Racing||1:26.409||+ 1.675|
|25.||Gianni Morbidelli||Mulsanne SRL||1:26.708||+ 1.974|
* Denotes gap to fastest Q1 time of 1:24.734 posted by Yvan Muller
** Denotes gap to fastest Q2 time of 1:24.392 posted by Thed Björk
- Frédéric Vervisch – who provisionally qualified 12th – will serve a 5-place grid penalty in Race 2 for causing an avoidable collision in Race 1.
Image via FIA WTCR Media