NIKA Racing's Michel Nykjaer said he was thrilled to claim his and the team's first ever World Touring Car Championship victory after holding off Gabriele Tarquini in race one in Morocco.

Nykjaer had started race one from a creditable fourth on the grid and managed to pass fellow Chevrolet men Yvan Muller and James Nash to slot into second, behind pole-sitter Tarquini, going into turn one.

As both he and Nash piled the pressure on the experienced Italian, Nykjaer found a way through after Tarquini made a mistake just before the mid-point of the race at the second chicane - passing the Italian seconds before the safety car was deployed after Tiago Montiero hit the wall at turn two.

Nykjaer admitted he was 'a little bit nervous' during a two lap sprint to the line after Monteiro's car has been removed from the circuit, but the former European champ held his nerve to win the race.

He becomes the first independent to win an outright race since Stefano d'Aste in Japan last year, while seventh in race two - and second amongst the Independents - bumps him up into second position in the overall championship and second in the Yokohama Trophy for Independents.

"The winning move was the start, when I managed to sprint ahead of Nash and Muller," he said. "After that I focused on finding a way to overtake Tarquini. He then made a mistake coming out of the second chicane and this gave me the opportunity to pass him.

"It was then a matter of stay in control of the race and keep Gabriele at bay in the last laps after the safety car period was over. I was a little bit nervous, because I was afraid that something could happen but I really wanted to win this race!

"I am very, very happy because finally I managed to win my first WTCC race. It is a fantastic feeling, difficult to describe it now."

by Dexter Fielding



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