Touring Car Racing World Tour

Review Kumho FIA TCR WT Marrakesh

BRC Hyundai N Squadra Corse continues to lead the Kumho FIA TCR World Tour points

BRC Hyundai N Squadra Corse continues to lead the Kumho FIA TCR World Tour points

BRC Hyundai N Squadra Corse has maintained its advantage over its Kumho FIA TCR World Tour rivals after two challenging races at the Circuit Moulay El Hassan street track in Marrakesh, Morocco.

The Italy-based outfit continues to lead the Drivers’ and Team’s championships thanks to a 3-4-5 result in Race 1, when defending champion Norbert Michelisz completed the podium, followed by team-mates Néstor Girolami and Mikel Azcona.

Michelisz and Girolami had started third and fourth on the grid following qualifying and held those places to the chequered flag on the narrow, wall-lined track.

Girolami had been forced to defend from the fifth-placed Volcano Motorsport Audi of John Filippi, who fell into the clutches of Azcona’s Hyundai Elantra N TCR, with the Spaniard passing him on lap 33.

Race 2 proved a trickier affair in the soaring North African heat with both Michelisz and Azcona coming into contact with other cars at the start. Lining up seventh on the reverse grid, Girolami managed to avoid trouble but had to settle for a fifth-place finish.

Michelisz, starting from eighth, was left frustrated after a hit from rival Ehrlacher left him nursing a damaged car to 11th place at the finish. Azcona, who had the advantage of starting fifth, was similarly impeded on lap one and picked up damaged suspension. He was then forced to pit to change a damaged tyre, eventually placing 13th.

The Kumho FIA TCR World Tour heads next to the USA when the Mid-Ohio Sports Cars Course in Lexington, Ohio, hosts the action on June 7-8.

Hyundai Motorsport Circuit Racing Project Manager Julien Moncet said: “After the brilliant result in Vallelunga we knew Marrakesh could be more difficult because of the compensation weight we had to carry, but also because this track is very short, it is almost impossible to overtake so you have to try to survive. The drivers gave everything in qualifying, there was nothing left to give. The first race was quite smooth but the second did not go according to plan with a lot of incidents. It’s a frustrating result but let’s keep the positives in mind. We are still leading both championships, Drivers’ and Teams’, so this was our target and we will be in a much better position for Mid-Ohio.”

Driver Notes: #196 Mikel Azcona (ESP), Hyundai Elantra N TCR

  • Spaniard claims fifth place in Race 1 after strong team display in Marrakesh
  • Race 2 marred by damaged suspension and puncture which leaves Azcona out the points

Azcona said: “I got pushed by the cars around me in Race 2 and straight away I felt the car was not in the perfect condition, the suspension was bent. I was able to keep going and with a good pace but then I started to feel a vibration on the left-rear tyre. In the end, there was another hit and that was the cause of the puncture. We lost plenty of points, which is very unfortunate, but that’s racing and now we have to look forward to Mid-Ohio. But I was very happy with the result in Race 1, gaining one position to finish fifth with a very clean move. The balance of the car was really nice even with the extra 30 kilos. It’s positive for Mid-Ohio that we will lose this weight.”

Driver Notes: #105 Norbert Michelisz (HUN), Hyundai Elantra N TCR

  • Defending Kumho FIA TCR World Tour champion finishes third in Race 1, leading a team 3-4-5 result
  • Clash with Ehrlacher in Race 2 leaves Hungarian just outside the points

Michelisz said: “It was very tough in Race 2. I had a brilliant start and I think I was up two places but then there was a big hit from Ehrlacher, which ruined my race. My car picked up damage on both sides so it was just about surviving. In Race 1 my start wasn’t ideal, so I had to settle for third. I was happy with the car, happy with the pace. In some laps, I tried to go for an overtake but I was never close enough. Although it’s a possibility to overtake in Marrakesh you always have to consider that most probably you will have contact and I was never close enough to make a clean move so this is why I settled for third.”

Driver Notes: #129 Néstor Girolami (ARG), Hyundai Elantra N TCR

  • Argentinian takes fourth and fifth-place finishes to score useful championship points
  • New-for-2024 team recruit happy with result despite tricky Race 2

Girolami said: “This circuit is always challenging to overtake, and the aim in Race 1 was to keep the position with Norbi. The start wasn’t great, but then we were managing the pace, trying not to heat up the front tyres. From my side, I was happy with the team, happy with the car. Sometimes you need luck and in Race 2 the luck lay in my favour. The start again was not great and I think Ehrlacher was too optimistic into T1, hitting Norbi and creating a bit of chaos. I was able to not overshoot T1, passing three cars, and then the race opened for me. I tried hard to attack the Hondas but we had a similar pace. In the end, it was a good result and we scored good points.”


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