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Ferenc Ficza tops Friday testing in Georgia

Ferenc Ficza emerged as the fastest driver after two hours of unofficial TCR International Series testing on Friday, putting his SEAT less than a tenth ahead of Jean-Karl Vernay’s Volkswagen in Georgia.

Ficza, who returns to TCR International in 2017 after a year in the WTCC, hit the top of the times in the final half hour of the session, despite Vernay also improving in the closing minutes.

In the end the gap from first to second was a mere 0.0156 seconds, whilst the top ten drivers were covered by less than a second around the newly-refurbished Rustavi International Motopark.

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Attila Tassi, racing for the new M1RA team, was third fastest in the leading Honda Civic Type-R, whilst Craft-Bamboo Racing’s Pepe Oriola was fourth. On his return to TCR, Hugo Valente ended the session in fifth just behind his team-mate.

Davit Kajaia, the local hero who is racing for GE-Force, was sixth quickest in his Alfa Romeo, putting his local knowledge to good use. Kajaia is the only driver competing this weekend with previous knowledge of the Georgian circuit.

Gianni Morbidelli ended up seventh fastest in his new West Coast Racing Volkswagen, ahead of fellow Italian Roberto Colciago in eighth, who had earlier been one of the fastest drivers in the session.

James Nash and Giacomo Altoè completed the top ten in their SEAT and Volkswagen cars respectively. The latter had been fastest with less than half an hour to go in the session, but as the times fell the West Coast Racing driver was himself unable to improve his time.

Mat’o Homola was the leading Opel driver for DG Sport Compétition in 11th, just over a second off the pace, ahead of GE-Force’s Dušan Borković and the second Opel of Pierre-Yves Corthals.

Duncan Ende rounded out the times for his Icarus Motorsports outfit, the American ending up some 2.6 seconds off the pace.

Only 15 cars took part in the session, with the third GE-Force Alfa Romeo remaining in the pits. The car had been originally entered for a guest driver, which was rumoured to be for a local racer, but no subsequent entry has materialised.

Session results

1 55 Ferenc FICZA HUN Zele Racing SEAT León TCR 31 1:42.333 0.000
2 2 Jean-Karl VERNAY FRA Leopard Racing Team WRT Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR 31 1:42.349 0.016
3 9 Attila TASSI HUN M1RA Honda Civic Type-R TCR 38 1:42.400 0.067
4 Pepe ORIOLA ESP Lukoil Craft-Bamboo Racing SEAT León TCR 38 1:42.452 0.119
5 7 Hugo VALENTE FRA Lukoil Craft-Bamboo Racing SEAT León TCR 36 1:42.522 0.189
6 16 Davit KAJAIA GEO GE-Force Alfa Romeo Giulietta TCR 34 1:42.638 0.305
7 10 Gianni MORBIDELLI ITA West Coast Racing Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR 36 1:42.682 0.349
8 5 Roberto COLCIAGO ITA M1RA Honda Civic Type-R TCR 38 1:42.692 0.359
9 54 James NASH GBR Lukoil Craft-Bamboo Racing SEAT León TCR 40 1:42.726 0.393
10 21 Giacomo ALTOÈ ITA West Coast Racing Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR 35 1:42.949 0.616
11 Mat’o HOMOLA SVK DG Sport Compétition Opel Astra TCR 35 1:43.500 1.167
12 1 Stefano COMINI CHE Comtoyou Racing Audi RS3 LMS TCR 25 1:43.613 1.280
13 62 Dušan BORKOVIĆ SRB GE-Force Alfa Romeo Giulietta TCR 39 1:43.999 1.666
14 23 Pierre-Yves CORTHALS BEL DG Sport Compétition Opel Astra TCR 29 1:43.993 1.660
15 18 Duncan ENDE USA Icarus Motorsports SEAT León TCR 38 1:44.965 2.632
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