L&T Motorsport

First Blood to Honda as Monteiro Claims Marrakech Pole

After many hours of investigations, it was confirmed that Tiago Monteiro has taken pole for tomorrow’s feature race. He managed to edge out the extremely fast Volvo of Nestor Girolami by just 0.272s. Monteiro’s team mate Norbert Michelisz qualified third, 3 tenths behind his team mate. There were talks througout the paddock that Honda may not be able to match the Citroen’s and Volvos, after a poor show in pre-season testing. However, they have proved their doubters wrong.

Title favourite Rob Huff will start the feature race from fourth. The Briton had a tough start to the weekend, missing the first practice session due to having the wrong seat belts in his Citroen. A problem that was rectified just an hour before minutes before second practice. Behind him will be Mehdi Bennani. The Moroccan driver is hoping for a strong showing at his home race, and has pair of strong grid positions for both races. He was at risk of loosing those positions, after an investigation into his Q2 time. Officials believed that his fastest time was set under yellow flags. However, this was found to be incorrect, allowing him to keep his position.

It appeared to be a good day for rookies Yann Ehrlacher and Ryo Michigami as they secured front row starts for the opening race. However, both would face exclusions from qualifying dropping them to the back of the pack. Ehrlacher missed the weigh bridge at the end of Q2, Michigami would make the same mistake. Another Rookie in trouble was Aurélien Panis, who came in underweight after Qualifying. The result would see an all Chevrolet front row for the opening encounter. Tom Coronel will start from pole with rookie Esterban Guerrieri alongside him. Coronel could be a force to be reckoned with, as he won around the streets of Marrakech last season.

Fresh from his return to the British Touring Car Championship, Tom Chilton will start the opening race in third. Chilton will be followed by a pair of Volvos, as Thed Bjork and Nicky Catsburg line up fourth and fifth. Outside the top 10, Daniel Nagy in his Zengo Honda will line up 11th for both races with John Filippi behind him. Due to their exclusions, Michigami will start 13th, Ehrlacher 14th and Panis will start 15th for both races.

It may have been first blood to Honda, but will they be able to hold off the quick Volvos over a race distance. The Cyan cars showed serious race pace during the final parts of last year. Will Huff be able to build on his testing dominance and fight to the front in either race? The opening race will start at 16.35 local time, and run over 18 laps. The feature race will start at 17.45 and be run over 21 laps. As always, everything is broadcast live on Eurosport.

Words: @WA10Tom
Image: FIA

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