Esteban Guerrieri has taken pole position for the opening race of the 2019 World Touring Car Cup (WTCR) season. The Argentine put on a commanding display around the streets of Marrakech, however he was pushed close by the Cyan Racing cars.
Yvan Muller was the second fastest driver in the session, but an engine replacement due to a broken oil sump means that the Frenchman will instead have to start from 26th – dead last. As a result, everyone behind him is therefore pushed up a position on the grid. This means that Muller’s Cyan Racing team-mate, Thed Bjork will get promoted to the front row of the grid.
One of many returnees to World Touring Car racing, Nestor ‘Bebu’ Girolami will line up from third place on the grid, ensuring that both Munnich Motorsport Honda TCRs make it into the top three. Andy Priaulx, also making his return to this touring car competition secured fourth, just ahead of reigning World Champion, Gabriele Tarquini in fifth.
Despite some mishaps on track, Jean-Karl Vernay was by far the quickest Audi in qualifying, with the Frenchman ending the session in sixth place. Back for a full season in 2019, Tiago Monteiro made it three Hondas in the top seven, while Yann Ehrlacher made it three Lynk & Co cars (discounting Muller) in the top eight.
Daniel Haglof was the best of the series rookies, ending up in a very respectable ninth place, while Kevin Ceccon rounded out the top ten in his Alfa Romeo.
Punctures were a common theme in this qualifying session, with Frederic Vervisch, Ma Qing Hua, Rob Huff and Jean-Karl Vernay all picking up flat tyres. It remains to be seen whether this phenomenon will continue to be an issue in the weekend’s races.
Full Qualifying Result:
|Position||Driver||Car||Lap Time||Difference to Pole (Seconds)|
|2nd||Thed Bjork||Lynk & Co||1:25.049||+0.276|
|4th||Andy Priaulx||Lynk & Co||1:25.138||+0.365|
|8th||Yann Ehrlacher||Lynk & Co||1:25.221||+0.448|
|10th||Kevin Ceccon||Alfa Romeo||1:25.234||+0.461|
|21st||Ma Qing Hua||Alfa Romeo||1:25.822||+1.049|
|26th||Yvan Muller||Lynk & Co||1:25.012||Engine Penalty|