WTCR Marrakech: Bjork tops second practice for Cyan, Guerrieri P2
|By Jack Cozens||Saturday, April 6th 2019, 11:00 GMT|
Thed Bjork put Cyan Racing's new Lynk & Co 03 on top in second practice for the 2019 World Touring Car Cup season opener in Marrakech.
Bjork, the 2017 World Touring Car champion, set a best time of 1m25.308s in a session where all but three cars were covered by less than a second.
While air temperatures hovered at around 12C, sunshine between first and second practice helped dry out damp spots that remained on the circuit, and it took WRT's Jean-Karl Vernay less than 10 minutes to beat Aurelien Panis's 1m25.841s benchmark from FP1.
Reigning champion Gabriele Tarquini spent much of the first half of the 30-minute session in the pits, but vaulted his BRC Hyundai i30 N to the top of the times with a 1m25.625s.
That effort was then toppled by Tiago Monteiro, Tarquini's BRC stablemate Norbert Michelisz and Esteban Guerrieri, before Bjork hit the front by going a tenth and a half faster than the Munnich Motorsport Honda Civic Type R.
The session was then red flagged with four and a half minutes left on the clock when Tom Coronel briefly stopped on track after his front-right tyre went down at the first corner - a minute or so after Gordon Shedden had also suffered a puncture at the same spot.
But Coronel got going again and was able to limp his Comtoyou Cupra back to the pits, allowing the drivers one final attempt at a qualifying simulation run.
Guerrieri looked as though he might trouble Bjork's top spot with a fastest first sector of all on his first flying lap back out on track, but ultimately backed out of that effort.
The Argentinian did go faster on his final run, but an effort of 1m25.402s left him 0.094 seconds down - meaning Bjork, who took pole for the opening WTCR race in Marrakech last season, ended FP2 on top.
Bjork's Cyan team-mate Yvan Muller jumped up to third late on, a further 0.038s back from Guerrieri, while Norbert Michelisz was the fastest of Hyundai's contenders in fourth.
Monteiro maintained a strong start to his first weekend back in World Touring Cars on a full-time basis by again going fifth fastest in his KCMG Honda.
Tarquini's early benchmark time was good enough for sixth in the final FP2 order ahead of Yann Ehrlacher - whose mirror fell off and had to be collected by marshals under a full-course yellow - and FP1 pacesetter Panis (Comtoyou Cupra).
The PWR Cupra of Mikel Azcona and Vernay's Audi RS3 LMS completed the top 10, with both within half a second of Bjork.
Rob Huff was again the fastest of the Volkswagen contingent in 11th in his Sebastien Loeb Racing Golf GTI, while Kevin Ceccon improved compared to FP1 in Team Mulsanne's leading Alfa Romeo Giulietta Veloce to finish the session 13th.
Three-time World Touring Car champion Andy Priaulx was the final driver within a second of Bjork, reporting on his final run that he had "a bit of play in the first part of my brake pedal" in his Lynk & Co 03.
|1||Thed Bjork||Cyan Racing||Lynk & Co||1m25.308s||12|
|2||Esteban Guerrieri||Munnich Motorsport||Honda||0.094s||12|
|3||Yvan Muller||Cyan Racing||Lynk & Co||0.132s||9|
|4||Norbert Michelisz||BRC Squadra Corse||Hyundai||0.190s||13|
|6||Gabriele Tarquini||BRC Squadra Corse||Hyundai||0.317s||8|
|7||Yann Ehrlacher||Cyan Performance||Lynk & Co||0.428s||15|
|8||Aurelien Panis||Comtoyou Cupra||Cupra||0.446s||14|
|9||Mikel Azcona||PWR Racing||Cupra||0.458s||17|
|11||Rob Huff||SLR VW Motorsport||Volkswagen||0.523s||13|
|12||Nicky Catsburg||BRC Racing Team||Hyundai||0.541s||12|
|13||Kevin Ceccon||Team Mulsanne||Alfa Romeo||0.549s||17|
|14||Nestor Girolami||Munnich Motorsport||Honda||0.550s||13|
|15||Augusto Farfus||BRC Racing Team||Hyundai||0.591s||16|
|17||Tom Coronel||Comtoyou Cupra||Cupra||0.715s||13|
|19||Frederic Vervisch||Comtoyou Audi||Audi||0.810s||10|
|20||Johan Kristoffersson||SLR Volkswagen||Volkswagen||0.818s||15|
|21||Daniel Haglof||PWR Racing||Cupra||0.843s||13|
|22||Mehdi Bennani||SLR VW Motorsport||Volkswagen||0.876s||13|
|23||Andy Priaulx||Cyan Performance||Lynk & Co||0.892s||14|
|24||Ma Qinghua||Team Mulsanne||Alfa Romeo||1.049s||15|
|25||Niels Langeveld||Comtoyou Audi||Audi||1.164s||15|
|26||Benjamin Leuchter||SLR Volkswagen||Volkswagen||1.536s||13|