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.
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.
|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|