WTCC Marrakech. Crashes and wet weather in Morocco

The weekend in Marrakech, the fourth race in six weeks, saw drivers Thed Björk and Fredrik Ekblom closing the gap on the front-runners, from seconds in the first sessions to tenths in qualifying.

61 EKBLOM Fredrik (swe) Volvo S60 team Polestar Cyan racing action during the 2016 FIA WTCC World Touring Car Race of Morocco at Marrakech, from May 6 to 8 2016 - Photo Jean Michel Le Meur / DPPI.
61 EKBLOM Fredrik (swe) Volvo S60 team Polestar Cyan racing action during the 2016 FIA WTCC World Touring Car Race of Morocco at Marrakech, from May 6 to 8 2016 – Photo Jean Michel Le Meur / DPPI.

Competitive results in the races were stopped by crashes and very wet conditions where Thed Björk was taken out from third position in the first race.

”I was hit so hard from behind by Nicky Catsburg and dropped to last position. I was able to regain five places and Nicky apologised to me straight after the race, so no hard feelings there. Then in the last race I just had no grip, all part of the learning process as we have had virtually no wet weather testing,” said Björk.

Team-mate Fredrik Ekblom struggled in the wet second race as well, but managed to climb three positions in the first race to break into the top ten and score world championship points for the fourth race weekend in succession.

”Just as Thed said, the second race was really difficult as we have no real data to utilise for the wet yet. But the car felt better and better in the dry as the weekend progressed and I am happy to score points in the first race,” said Ekblom.

The first four races has resulted in two top five finishes, seven top ten finishes and one Q3 qualifying session for Polestar Cyan Racing.

”We just completed the most intense part of the season and so far we are quite happy with the progress. We have managed it without any major technical issues and we have broken into Q3 and finished races within the top five. The team had done a tremendous job, but this weekend also testifies that we will need to keep working hard going forward,” said Alexander Murdzevski Schedvin, Head of Motorsport at Polestar.

The WTCC heads into a two-week break before resuming action at the very challenging Nürburgring Nordschleife on the 26-28th of May.

WTCC Race of Morocco
Circuit: Circuit International Automobile Moulay El Hassan
Length: 3000 m
Lap record (WTCC): 1:23.087, Valente

Results
Race 1 – Top 5
1 Tom Coronel Chevrolet Cruze 21 laps
2 José María López Citroën C-Elysée +0.319
3 Yvan Muller Citroën C-Elysée +2.185
4 Tiago Monteiro Honda Civic +2.492
5 Norbert Michelisz Honda Civic +3.770

10 Fredrik Ekblom Volvo S60 +16.540
11 Thed Björk Volvo S60 +22.376

Race 2 – Top 5
1 Rob Huff Honda Civic 22 laps
2 Norbert Michelisz Honda Civic +0.611
3 Tiago Monteiro Honda Civic +1.251
4 José María López Citroën C-Elysée +2.710
5 Yvan Muller Citroën C-Elysée +9.916

15 Thed Björk Volvo S60 +1 lap
16 Fredrik Ekblom Volvo S60 +1 lap

Q3
1 Rob Huff Honda Civic 1:21.743
2 Norbert Michelisz Honda Civic +0.036
3 Tiago Monteiro Honda Civic +0.083
4 José María López Citroën C-Elysée +0.162
5 Nicky Catsburg Lada Vesta +0.418

Q2 – Top 5
1 José María López Citroën C-Elsyée 1:21.457
2 Norbert Michelisz Honda Civic +0.006
3 Tiago Monteiro Honda Civic +0.010
4 Rob Huff Honda Civic +0.283
5 Nicky Catsburg Lada Vesta +0.647

8 Thed Björk Volvo S60 +0.780

Q1 – Top 5
1 Rob Huff Honda Civic 1:21.750
2 José María López Citroën C-Elysée +0.068
3 Tiago Monteiro Honda Civic +0.184
4 Nicky Catsburg Lada Vesta +0.220
5 Norbert Michelisz Honda Civic +0.309

7 Thed Björk Volvo S60 +0.432
13 Fredrik Ekblom Volvo S60 +0.906

Championship standings
Drivers
1 José María López Citroën C-Elysée 138 pts
2 Tiago Monteiro Honda Civic 124 (-14)
3 Rob Huff Honda Civic 98 (-40)
4 Norbert Michelisz Honda Civic 85 (-53)
5 Mehdi Bennani Citroën C-Elysée 83 (-55)

12 Fredrik Ekblom Volvo S60 20 (-118)
13 Thed Björk Volvo S60 19 (-119)

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