Defending series champion Gabriele Tarquini has claimed victory in the second race of the FIA World Touring Car Cup round at Morocco, but only after his BRC Racing Team Hyundai teammate Nicky Catsburg crashed out of the lead.

Catsburg had started the reversed-grid race from pole and held off Tarquini at the start to hold a seemingly comfortable lead of the race. Tarquini slotted into second place ahead of the WRT Audi of Jean-Karl Vernay, with Yann Ehrlacher vaulting his Cyan Performance Lynk & Co up to fourth place ahead of Saturday race-winner Esteban Guerrieri in the Münnich Motorsport Honda.

Further around the opening lap, the second WRT Audi of Gordon Shedden punted Tom Coronel’s Comtoyou Racing Cupra into a half-spin at Turn 8, although both continued without major damage. In the background to this, Sébastien Loeb Racing teammates Mehdi Bennani and Rob Huff – not for the first time in their partnership – collided, with the former spending a lengthy stint in the pits while his VW Golf GTI was repaired.

The race and running order settled down from there on, with the remaining runners being ultra-cautious to keep climbing component temperatures under control and ensure their cars stayed in one piece given there was little time between the end of this race and the start of Race 3.

That was until Catsburg – the one driver whose car was not breathing in the hot exhaust gases from a car in front of him – slid nose-first into the Turn 10 barriers after a sudden brake failure. The Dutch driver was thankfully unhurt, but the same could not be said of his Hyundai i30 N TCR which is too badly damaged to be repaired in time for Race 3.

Nicky Catsburg, BRC Lukoil Racing Team Hyundai i30 N TCR - 2019 FIA WTCR Race of Morocco

Early race leader Catsburg saw his chance of victory fade along with his front brakes, crashing out heavily on Lap 10.

That handed the effective race lead to teammate Tarquini while the race was neutralised for four laps behind the Safety Car so Catsburg’s car could be retrieved to safety. During this time, the Team Mulsanne Alfa Romeo of Ma Qing Hua was forced into the pits, with the Chinese driver suffering his second puncture of the weekend.

Tarquini’s path to victory was assured thanks to a massive jump at the restart, completely catching Vernay off-guard to bolt off into the distance and an eventual three-second margin of victory.

No overtaking moves were attempted among the top-fifteen points-scorers, with Vernay finishing in second place ahead of Ehrlacher.

Guerrieri finished fourth to consolidate a five-point lead in the Drivers’ Championship standings to Tarquini, ahead of rookie driver Mikel Azcona who looked particularly racy en route to an impressive fifth place in his PWR Cupra.

Cyan Racing teammates Thed Björk and Yvan Muller finished sixth and seventh respectively, ahead of KCMG Honda’s Tiago Monteiro and Race pole-winner Frédéric Vervisch’s Comtoyou Audi.

The third and final race of the weekend takes place at 18:15 WEST (GMT +1).

2019 FIA WTCR Race of Morocco – Race 2 Final Classification (20 laps)
Driver Team / Entry Laps Result Pts
1. Gabriele Tarquini BRC Hyundai N Squadra Corse 20 31:45.772 25
2. Jean-Karl Vernay Leopard Racing Team Audi Sport 20 + 3.317 20
3. Yann Ehrlacher Cyan Performance Lynk & Co 20 + 3.991 16
4. Esteban Guerrieri Münnich Motorsport 20 + 4.514 13
5. Mikel Azcona PWR Racing 20 + 4.669 11
6. Thed Björk Cyan Racing Lynk & Co 20 + 7.064 10
7. Yvan Muller Cyan Racing Lynk & Co 20 + 8.197 9
8. Tiago Monteiro KCMG 20 + 8.496 8
9. Frédéric Vervisch be Comtoyou Team Audi Sport 20 + 8.895 7
10. Néstor Girolami Münnich Motorsport 20 + 9.439 6
11. Augusto Farfus BRC Hyundai N LUKOIL Racing Team 20 + 9.870 5
12. Norbert Michelisz BRC Hyundai N Squadra Corse 20 + 11.109 4
13. Andy Priaulx Cyan Performance Lynk & Co 20 + 12.081 3
14. Tom Coronel Comtoyou Team DHL Cupra Racing 20 + 12.703 2
15. Gordon Shedden Leopard Racing Team Audi Sport 20 + 13.109 1
16. Daniel Haglöf PWR Racing 20 + 13.659
17. Johan Kristoffersson SLR Volkswagen 20 + 14.126
18. Niels Langeveld Comtoyou Team Audi Sport 20 + 14.831
19. Kevin Ceccon Team Mulsanne 20 + 15.184
20. Attila Tassi KCMG 20 + 16.358
21. Aurélien Panis Comtoyou Team DHL Cupra Racing 20 + 16.796
22. Rob Huff SLR VW Motorsport 20 + 17.440
23. Benjamin Leuchter be SLR Volkswagen 20 + 18.209
Not Classified Team / Entry Laps Reason
DNF. Ma Qing Hua Team Mulsanne 13 Puncture
DNF. Mehdi Bennani SLR VW Motorsport 11 + 9 laps
DNF. Nicky Catsburg BRC Hyundai N LUKOIL Racing Team 9 Brakes

Championship Points:

  • The top fifteen classified finishers and their respective teams are awarded championship points on a 25-20-16-13-11-10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 sliding scale.

Post-Race Penalties:

  • Mehdi Bennani – who was not classified as a finisher – was awarded a reprimand by the FIA Stewards for causing a collision with Rob Huff.

Images via FIA WTCR 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.