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World Touring Car Championship newcomers Citroen have come out of the box flying as the opening round of the 2014 season got underway with an official pre-weekend test in Morocco.

With free practice scheduled for Saturday ahead of qualifying, the 20-strong field was nonetheless given the chance to shake-down their all-new TC1 specification cars around the Marrakech street circuit.

Despite its rookie status, Citroen emerged as the team to beat, the French manufacturer having come into the 2014 season with considerably more pre-season testing with the new generation of WTCC car under its belt than main rivals Honda, LADA and Chevrolet.

Reigning champion Yvan Muller would emerge fastest in the C-Elysee saloon, four tenths up on Jose Maria Lopez, while World Rally legend Sebastien Loeb was third best ahead of his maiden touring car outing.

Almost two seconds further back, Hugo Valente was fourth best in the semi-privateer RML-developed Campos Racing Chevrolet Cruze, while Tiago Monteiro and Rob Huff headed up the respective Honda and LADA efforts in fifth and sixth.

Elsewhere, local hero Mehdi Bennani was eighth in the Proteam Honda Civic, while Tom Chilton and Gabriele Tarquini rounded out the top ten.

In the TC2 class for older specification WTCC cars, Franz Engstler was quickest in his BMW, six seconds off the overall pace.

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