SEAT Sport’s Yvan Muller posted the fastest lap in today’s test session that inaugurated the Marrakech street circuit. The reigning world champion beat Chevrolet driver Alain Menu by just four thousandths of a second. Rickard Rydell posted the third fastest time.
The drivers opened the session with caution as they got to grips with the new circuit.
Tom Coronel was the first driver to clock a provisional fastest lap of 1:56.174 and within the next couple of laps he had shaved three seconds off his time.
With 18 minutes on the clock LADA Sport’s Kirill Ladygin stopped at the first chicane on the back straight due to a technical issue. This resulted in a red flag. On returning to the track Tiago Monteiro took the fastest time but it was quickly topped by Muller. With two minutes remaining Muller set a lap of 1:50.694 that eventually remained the fastest. Menu came close to matching it on his final and fastest lap but fell 0.004 of a second shy. Rydell’s offering was 1:51.372.
Tom Coronel emerged as the fastest of the Independents after spells at the top with a time of 1:51.869 (eighth overall). The best of the BMW squad was Alessandro Zanardi whose time of 1:51.998 equated to ninth overall. Jaap van Lagen achieved the 19th fastest time with 1:54.130, the best of the LADA cars.
Marin Colak did not join due to a clutch problem. Kristian Poulsen went off at turn one and hit the wall in his BMW 320si because of a brake failure.
WTCC cars line up in the Marrakech pit lane before the start of the test session
SEAT’S APPEAL PARTIALLY UPHELD
Ruling on decision 12 taken by the Stewards of the Meeting at the WTCC event run in Puebla on 22 March, the FIA International Court of Appeal, which met in Paris on 21 April, confirmed the drive-through penalty for Gabriele Tarquini but annulled the drop of ten grid positions.
The Stewards judged Tarquini responsible for causing an avoidable collision with BMW Team Germany driver Jörg Müller during the second race.
The International Court of Appeal declared SEAT’s appeal inadmissible in so far the drive-through penalty is concerned; this penalty remains suspended for the next three events.
At the same time, the International Court of Appeal annulled the part of the decision concerning the drop of then grid positions, because the same infringement cannot be punished with two different penalties.
BUREAU’S DECISIONS ON BMW AND CHEVROLET
The FIA Touring Car Bureau granted technical waivers to Chevrolet and to the BMW 320si cars run by the independent teams.
The Chevrolet Cruze cars have been authorized to use a new front bumper fitted with flat bottom and to replace the front and rear door windows with plastic elements.
As for the independent BMW cars driven by Stefano D’Aste (Wiechers-Sport), Franz Engstler and Kristian Poulsen (Liqui Moly Team Engstler), George Tanev, Félix Porteiro and newcomer Visto Postiglione (Proteam Motorsport) they will benefit from a 15-kilo reduction on the minimum weight that will be dropped from 1170 to 1155 kg, including the driver.
BOARDMAN TO SKIP THE MARRAKECH EVENT
SUNRED Engineering’s Tom Boardman will not take part in this weekend’s event at Marrakech. The Briton will join the championship again from the following meeting in Pau on May 17th.
"After the first two events in Brazil and Mexico, Tom asked us to have a new car, however we were not able to have it ready in time to be shipped to Marrakech. Also because Tom wishes to test the new car in England before racing it. We will be ready in time to re-start from Pau," team principal Joán Orus explained.