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Jose Maria Lopez has taken pole position for the opening round of the 2014 World Touring Car Championship around the streets of Marrakech as Citroen continued to dominate proceedings in Morocco.

Lopez, who was signed Citroen's new WTCC effort after starring in a one-off outing in his native Argentina last season, was closely matched with experienced team-mate Yvan Muller and also Sebastien Loeb, the Frenchman making his much publicised move into touring car racing this weekend.

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However, it was Lopez that would emerge quickest from Muller and Loeb, the trio covered by just a tenth of a second, but otherwise well over a second ahead of the remaining opposition.

A consequence of Citroen having completed considerably more mileage with the new specification C-Elysee than its main rivals from Chevrolet, Honda and LADA, it was Tom Chilton that led the challenge in fourth place in the ROAL Cruze.

Despite being black-flagged in the final Q3 session for leaving the pit lane before he was permitted, WTCC newcomer Dusan Borkovic was still an impressive fifth in the Campos Chevrolet.

Missing out on Q3 but showing well in Q2, Rene Munnnich will start in sixth position in his eponymous Chevrolet, ahead of Tiago Monteiro, the Portuguese driver flying solo for the factory Honda team this weekend after a practice smash ruled Gabriele Tarquini out of the tomorrow's races.

Monteiro headed up a trio of Civics, with Norbert Michelisz in eighth position, while Mehdi Bennani is ninth, the local hero in turn assuring himself of a front row position for the second race in front of his fans.

James Thompsons starts as the best of the LADA drivers in 11th place, while Franz Engstler assured himself of TC2 pole position in 15th overall.