Highs and Lows for CUPRA in opening WTCR weekend

by Phil Kinch

During the buildup to the 2019 FIA World Touring Car Cup (WTCR), Campos Racing and Zengo Motorsport left the series and were replaced by both PWR Racing and Comtoyou DHL Team CUPRA Racing.

Bringing the experience of the CUPRA TCR from their time in the Scandinavian Touring Car Championship, PWR Racing arrived with team co-owner Daniel Haglöf and 2018 TCR Europe champion Mikel Azcona to take on the best in WTCR.

Haglöf was a top ten contender in Marrakech. Credit: Frederic Le Floc’h / DPPI

Comtoyou DHL Team CUPRA Racing retained the services of Aurélien Panis from their Audi campaign last year and signed fan favourite Tom Coronel to build their challenge for the new season.

In Marrakech, Panis put the cat amongst the pigeons after taming the changing conditions during the opening Free Practice session at the circuit Moulay El Hassan and going fastest whilst Coronel adapted to the car whilst re-learning the street circuit.

Both Haglöf and Azcona got to grips with the circuit on their first visit, and the pace they showed was soon replicated in Qualifying. Azcona caused the biggest stir on Sunday as he made it all the way through to the Superpole shoutout in Q3 and put himself in a very respectable fifth place.

Free Practice was the high point of a difficult weekend for Panis. Credit: Frederic Le Floc’h / DPPI

Having already taken fifth place in the second race, Azcona turned that fifth place into a third-place finish in the final race of the day, elated to be on the podium on his WTCR debut. Haglöf took his best finish of the weekend in the third race as well, securing tenth place at the flag.

For Panis and Coronel, points were scored but both men have work to do in Hungary next time out. Both men retired in race one, Coronel due to contact and Panis due to a puncture.

Sunday’s races two and three saw the Dutch driver take his first points with a pair of fourteenth places and the Frenchman having to contend with and twenty-first and nineteenth place finishes respectively.

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