Jose Maria Lopez will start on pole position for the second round of the 2015 World Touring Car Championship around the streets of Marrakech, denying a famous result for local driver Mehdi Bennani.

Having dominated free practice in the run up to qualifying, Lopez came good on his status as title favourite, cruising into Q3 and easing his way to the fastest lap time of 1min 43.854secs.

Regardless of Lopez's peerless performance, more interest amongst the fans would revolve around the performance of Moroccan racer Bennani, who gave the local fans reason to celebrate with an impressive route to the front row in the Sebastien Loeb Racing Citroen C-Elysee.

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His best-ever qualifying performance in WTCC, Bennani will start ahead of Ma Qing Hua and Tom Chilton, the latter opting to stay in the pit lane during Q3 to save tyres. Fellow Chevrolet driver Hugo Valente also made it into Q3, but crashed out at turn one - prompting a red flag -, while the Frenchman was already due to start from the back due to an engine change.

With Lopez and Hua up front for the factory Citroen team, the French firm adopted some strategic play in qualifying to hold back Yvan Muller and Sebastien Loeb in the hopes of securing pole position for the reverse grid second race. It was a mostly successful endeavour, Muller qualifying tenth and Loeb eighth, putting them first and third on the grid for race two.

Ahead of them in race one, Norbert Michelisz emerged as the best of the Honda contingent in sixth place, ahead of factory driver Tiago Monteiro, while Tom Coronel starts ninth in the second of the ROAL Chevrolets.

Outside the top ten, Gabriele Tarquini and Stefano d'Aste make up row six, while LADA's qualifying challenge ended in Q1 with Rob Huff in 13th and James Thompson in 16th.