Guerrieri's great, Monteiro's magic and it's 96/96 to Honda and Volvo Polestar as WTCC 2017 begins in style

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Esteban Guerrieri scored his maiden FIA World Touring Car Championship victory with the Opening Race spoils in Marrakech, while top spot for Tiago Monteiro in the big-scoring Main Race at WTCC AFRIQUIA Race of Morocco puts the Portuguese at the head of the charge for world title glory following the first weekend of the season.

Guerrieri started the Opening Race second on the grid but capitalised on Tom Coronel’s fading brakes to win ahead of Polestar Cyan Racing’s Thed Björk and local hero Mehdi Bennani. Norbert Michelisz followed his Honda team-mate Monteiro home in the Main Race, which is longer and offers more points than previously. Néstor Girolami took third for the factory Volvo Polestar squad, which is level with Honda in the Manufacturers’ standings heading to the next race in Italy.

With eight potential world champions in action, this season’s world championship is already shaping up to be the most open in nearly a decade, while Guerrieri’s victory points to a bright WTCC future for the talented Argentine, once a rival of Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel in Formula 3. His pace in the Main Race also earned him the prestigious TAG Heuer Best Lap Trophy and a watch.

Other notable performances came from rookie racer Aurélien Panis and Ryo Michigami, who took their first WTCC point with P10 in the Opening Race and Main Race respectively. After Guerrieri secured the WTCC Trophy laurels in the Opening Race, Tom Chilton secured the Main Race victory when on-the-road winner Bennani received a two-second penalty for a collision with Nicky Catsburg, which dropped him from fourth to sixth overall and from first to second in the classification for privateer racers.

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