Menu Leads Home Chevrolet Teammates In First Marrakech Race

by Peter Allen
WTCC Marrakech - Photo Credit: WTCC Media

Menu (just) leads Huff and Muller at the start of the race, while Oriola (right) makes a good start - Photo Credit: WTCC Media

Alain Menu led home teammates Rob Huff and Yvan Muller as Chevrolet controlled the first World Touring Car race of the day in Marrakech.

Menu led from start to finish, with Huff maintaining second off the grid while Muller got up into third past Tom Coronel at the rolling start.

Pepe Oriola also squeezed his way past Coronel's BMW with a flying start in his SEAT. The Spanish youngster crossed the line just behind the factory Chevrolet trio after chasing down Muller in the closing gaps.

Coronel was taken out of contention when Alex MacDowall locked up under breaking into turn 5 and made contact with the Dutchman, dropping both down the order.

Stefano D'Aste inherited fifth place in his BMW, but was soon passed by the Team Aon Ford Focus of Tom Chilton. Chilton began challenging Oriola but then began to slow again and was repassed by D'Aste. He fell to seventh place behind Franz Engstler by the finish.

Coronel recovered to eighth, ahead of Norbert Michelisz and Darryl O'Young. Gabriele Tarquini had been eighth until the final lap, when he dropped to 11th.

James Nash had begun the race from ninth in his Aon Ford but was tagged into a spin and out of the race on the exit of turn 1 by Engstler. Local hero Mehdi Bennani then spun out into Nash, also retiring and bringing out the safety car. Nash is set to start race two from pole position.

Tiago Monteiro dropped out of seventh on lap five with transmission issues, although he did briefly return to the track for a lap later in the race.

MacDowall came home in 11th, ahead of the SEATs of Andrea Barlesi and Tom Boardman. Alberto Cerqui finished in 15th after spinning, while Aleksei Dudukalo and Pasquale di Sabatino were the last classified finishers after tangling.

Isaac Tutumlu retired after a collision, while Charles Ng failed to finish in his BMW after engine issues.

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