– The ‘Ancient Red City’ of Marrakech hosted the opening rounds of the 2014 FIA World Touring Car Championship last weekend
– Six RML-built new generation Cruzes competed on the notoriously challenging street circuit run by three customer teams
– Campos claims maiden podium honours with Hugo Valente at the helm of a customer Cruze
– A strong performance from ROAL puts Tom Chilton 3rd in the overall standings, ahead of Valente in 4th
WELLINGBOROUGH [UK] – Tuesday 15 April 2014: With the new look 2014 FIA World Touring Car Championship officially underway following last weekend’s opening rounds in Marrakech, the teams now face some intense challenges in order to prepare their cars for the following rounds at the Le Castellet circuit in France this coming Easter weekend.
Amidst the aftermath of frenetic racing in the Moroccan sun – during which several teams fell victim to the harsh reality of street circuits; imposing concrete walls and little margin for error – RML Chief Executive, Ray Mallock, acknowledges the many successes too: “We are very proud of the results we have helped our customers to achieve in the opening round of this new era in the WTCC.
“Less than six months ago our designers put pen to paper in order to create the car we see on the grid today. It’s important to remember this is a completely new, clean sheet design, in order to accommodate the new regulations. With limited budget and just a shakedown before the cars were handed over to our customers, the results in Marrakech are quite special. I’m delighted that we are able to provide our customers with cars capable of outpacing the works teams of Honda and Lada, given the significant time and budget advantage they had over us.”
Director of Motorsport, Ron Hartvelt – who led RML’s support team in Marrakech – adds: “The teams met the challenge with great application and determination and I think all should be proud of the achievements made in such a short period of time. Despite teething problems, which is to be expected with such a new car, the only issues the teams experienced were due to lack of familiarity with the car and subsequent operating procedures.
“The new Cruze does take a little time to adjust to, especially for teams who are used to running other machinery. With that in mind we take many positives from the weekend but continue to work hard behind the scenes to ensure all our customers can progress with their own ambitions.”
Four RML customer cars qualified in the top ten, with ROAL Motorsport’s Tom Chilton separating the Citroens in 3rd. Campos Racing’s WTCC debutant Dušan Borković and René Münnich also shone, lining up 5th & 6th for the first race grid and from there the weekend unfolded with a maiden podium for Hugo Valente. Chilton and Valente left Africa with a solid third & fourth in the championship standings.
Whilst not fielding a team this year – the first time since the championship’s inception back in 2006 – RML retains a strong presence in the paddock and sent a mix of engineers, sub-assembly technicians, fabricators and parts coordinators out to Marrakech to provide round the clock support to our customer teams, and to aid them on their way to Paul Ricard with just days between the two events.
Results following Rounds 1 & 2:
1. LÓPEZ José María 48 pt
2. LOEB Sébastien 47 pt
3. CHILTON Tom 27 pt
4. VALENTE Hugo 19 pt
5. MULLER Yvan 17 pt
6. MONTEIRO Tiago 11 pt
7. KOZLOVSKIY Mikhail 10 pt
8. BORKOVIĆ Dušan 9 pt
9. MORBIDELLI Gianni 8 pt
10. ENGSTLER Franz 6 pt