(MENAFN - Morocco World News) Rabat – The first round of the race-hard-or-go-home championship, the 2018 World Touring Car Cup (WTCR), clocked out in Marrakech on Sunday, with Gabriele Tarquini taking home the ultimate victory.
During the first race on Saturday, 25 pilots competed under the names of the brightest auto manufacturers in the world, including Honda, Audi, Volkswagen, Seat, Alfa Romeo and Hyundai.
After 20 laps of intense focus and tension, Gabriele Tarquini from the Hyundai team, managed to take the lead with a 1.338-second lead on his teammate Thed Bjork. Rob Huff from the Volkswagen team finished 3rd, 2.823-seconds behind Tarquini.
The Moroccan driver, Mehdi Bennani, raced with the fabulous Volkswagen Hatchback Golf GTI, unfortunately not performing as expected; he finished 9th, 15.025 seconds behind the first-place pilot.
The second race was a bit more competitive, with the opening race winner comes at the last position, while hometown favorite Mehdi Bennani came in second, just 0.890 seconds behind of Jean-Karl Vernay.
Tarquini made a great comeback during the third race, again placing first, ahead of his team-mate Yvan Muller. Meanwhile, Bennani finsihed sixth.
The home hero Bennani maintained his positivity and ambition, promising better results in the upcoming races.
'It's a very good result to start with,' said Bennani, adding, 'we need something very strong to start the championship and to start with a podium and points means we can be there and we will be fighting.
'It was very tough for sure because I started a bit in the middle for both [Sunday] races but I tried to manage not to have big contact, for sure we had some small contact, but I can finish the race and I can score points and keep fighting.'
Bennani continued by thanking his fans for their support and trust, and by offering them his second-place win as a token of gratitude for their encouragement.'It was very good because this is the only way I can thank people for trusting in me and to support me from here and far away. I am very happy that I can give them a little bit of thanks with this second position and I hope it's going to be better and better during the year.'
The event was marked by Hyundai's first appearance as a circuit racing sponsor, entering into one of the fastest-growing categories in motorsport. The newbie has shown great performances so far, as evidenced by its great results during the races, topping off the first three places of the WTCR's third race with its all new Hyundai I30 N.
The next scheduled races will be hosted in Hungaroring, Hungary, on April 28-29.