WTCR: Hyundai swept podium in Race 3, Vernay's win in Race 2
The first round of the 2018 WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup continued today with two more races at the street circuit in Marrakech, Morocco. After becoming the first ever winner in a new championship by winning the first race yesterday, Italian veteran Gabriele Tarquini added one more win to his account today.
At the wheel of the #30 BRC Racing Hyundai i30 N TCR, he defeated two aces in Yvan Muller Racing’s Hyundais – Yvan Muller and Thed Bjork, giving the clean podium sweep to Korean manufacturer. There were four Hyundais in the top 5 as Tarquini’s teammate Norbert Michelisz finished in the fifth place, behind Yann Ehrlacher in the #68 Münnich Motorsport’s Honda Civic Type R.
Mehdi Bennani and Rob Huff (both Sebastien Loeb Racing, VW Golf), James Thompson (Münnich Motorsport, Honda Civic), Jean-Karl Vernay (Leopard Lukoil Team, Audi RS3 LMS) and Pepe Oriola (Campos Racing, Cupra Leon) completed the top 10 in the Race 3.
Earlier today, Jean-Karl Vernay clinched a victory in Race 2. Starting from the front row in the reversed grid, he made a decisive move immediately at the start, taking the lead from pole-sitter Pepe Oriola. Moroccan hero Mehdi Bennani slipped to the second place, staying there until the end.
Later in the race, Vernay survived two safety car restarts and defended his lead against Bennani’s attacks on the tight 2.90-kilometre Circuit Moulay El Hassan. Campos Racing’s Pepe Oriola held on to third place and a podium finish, defending his position from Yann Ehrlacher. Thed Björk finished fifth in a Hyundai, making it five different brands in the top 5.
James Thompson finished sixth, ahead of Norbert Michelisz. Esteban Guerrieri finished 8th and grabbed some points in Münnich Motorsport’s Honda, ahead of Yvan Muller. Tom Coronel completed the top 10 in Boutsen Ginion Racing’s Honda.
After three Moroccan races, Gabriele Tarquini leads the championship with 62 points, eleven more than Thed Bjork. JK Vernay in third with 41 points on his account. Among the teams, BRC Racing Team is on the top.
The WTCR season would resume on April 28-29 with three races at Hungaroring.
Photos: Paulo Maria,