Reigning WTCC champion Gabriele Tarquini recorded an easy victory on the streets of Marrakech this weekend ahead of Robb Huff and Tiago Monteiro.
With two attempts at rolling starts aborted after the stewards were unhappy with the grid formation it was third time lucky as Tarquini lead away the field in his SEAT. As the leaders slotted through the first chicane Michel Nykjaer and Jordi GenÃ© battled hard for third place, running alongside each other, resulting in both drivers running wide. Fredy Barth gained the biggest advantage on the first lap as he moved up from eighth to third.
As the field came around for the second lap it was Tarquini who lead Huff, Barth, Monteiro, Coronel, Muller, Michelisz, Menu, Priaulx and Farfus. Barth continued to apply the pressure on Chevrolet’s Rob Huff and at one point managed to force the Chevy driver in to a massive slide, which the Brit brilliantly held on to, keeping his second place. In the confusion Montiero managed to pass the Rookie demoting him down to fourth.
“I had a good start and was holding on to Tarquini then I got a tap from Fredy (Barth) which put me sideways.” said Huff .”I am not really sure how I managed to hold it without hitting the wall but Tiago (Monteiro) was also helpful to allow me space to sort myself out and continue.”
Further down the field Alain Menu and Andy Priaulx were battling it out for pole position in race two with the British driver making his move on the final chicane.
The race was cut short after Andrei Romanov crashed his BMW 320si at T15 which brought out the safety car until the race was over.
Highest placed independent of the race was Franz Engstler who finished a respectable twelfth place.
After the race Tarquini commented “I had a small gap at the start but the safety car made it easy. I had no problems with the car. I think the key moment was when Huff lost the slipsteam as it is easier to challenge and fight for position when you are in the slipstream.”
Fredy Barth was happy with his race, ““It was nearly a podium in Race 1! It was really great though. I made a good start and managed to avoid the accidents. I was lucky after touching Huff as I had some smoke but everything was OK. I then also past Farfus but it's all been good experience.”
Photo credit: FIA WTCC