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Stefano Comini edges out hotly-contested second Salzburgring practice

Defending champion Stefano Comini went fastest in the second TCR International Series practice session at Salzburgring.

Comini’s lap time of 1:26.370, set with just over half of the thirty-minute session to run, beat Pepe Oriola’s effort by just 0.014 seconds.

Daniel Lloyd continued his impressive debut for Craft-Bamboo Racing in third, just 0.013 seconds further back, a tenth of a second quicker than team-mate and compatriot James Nash, who elected to spend the majority of the session in the pit lane.

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Jean-Karl Vernay, Roberto Colciago, Gianni Morbidelli, Attila Tassi, Jens Reno Moller and Stian Paulsen completed the top ten.

The session served as a timely reminder of TCR’s competitive nature, with the top 19 runners separated by less than a second on-circuit.

Craft-Bamboo had locked out early proceedings at the 2.63 mile circuit, with Oriola fastest ahead of team-mates Nash and Lloyd.

Lloyd, in truth, could have ended the session fastest, but a slight error on his fastest effort combined with traffic culminated in his falling just short of top spot.

That honour fell to Comini’s Audi RS3, which delivered him the first double victory of the 2017 season last time out at Monza.

Stian Paulsen’s SEAT ended the session resting against the barrier at Turn 10, bringing out the yellow flags with five minutes remaining and scuppering a number of potential improvements.

Paulsen escaped uninjured and the lack of visible damage when the car was extracted from the barriers suggests the impact was at low-speed, and should be fully repaired in time for qualifying.

Attila Tassi – who only received a new car from JAS Motorsport in the middle of the night after an emergency delivery from Italy – went an impressive eighth despite his limited track running, although suspicions he failed to sufficiently lift in the yellow-flag zone could see him visit the stewards.

Practice usually gives some indication of the pace-setters heading into qualifying but – to TCR’s credit – this weekend looks set to be unpredictable.

Session results

1 1 Stefano COMINI Comtoyou Racing Audi RS3 LMS TCR 17 1:26.370 0.000
2 74 Pepe ORIOLA Lukoil Craft-Bamboo Racing SEAT León TCR 11 1:26.384 0.014
3 17 Daniel LLOYD Lukoil Craft-Bamboo Racing SEAT León TCR 16 1:26.397 0.027
4 54 James NASH Lukoil Craft-Bamboo Racing SEAT León TCR 9 1:26.510 0.140
5 2 Jean-Karl VERNAY Leopard Racing Team WRT Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR 10 1:26.585 0.215
6 5 Roberto COLCIAGO M1RA Honda Civic Type-R TCR 18 1:26.589 0.219
7 10 Gianni MORBIDELLI West Coast Racing Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR 14 1:26.591 0.221
8 9 Attila TASSI M1RA Honda Civic Type-R TCR 16 1:26.623 0.253
9 11 Jens Reno MØLLER Reno Racing Honda Civic Type-R TCR 14 1:26.718 0.348
10 34 Stian PAULSEN Stian Paulsen Racing SEAT León TCR 13 1:26.720 0.350
11 70 Mat’o HOMOLA DG Sport Compétition Opel Astra TCR 9 1:26.784 0.414
12 16 Davit KAJAIA GE-Force Alfa Romeo Giulietta TCR 18 1:26.791 0.421
13 6 Frédéric VERVISCH Comtoyou Racing Audi RS3 LMS TCR 15 1:26.867 0.497
14 21 Giacomo ALTOÈ West Coast Racing Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR 15 1:26.919 0.549
15 66 Grégoire DEMOUSTIER DG Sport Compétition Opel Astra TCR 18 1:27.099 0.729
16 35 Thomas JÄGER Team Kissling Motorsport Opel Astra TCR 16 1:27.120 0.750
17 62 Dušan BORKOVIĆ GE-Force Alfa Romeo Giulietta TCR 14 1:27.133 0.763
18 3 Rob HUFF Leopard Racing Team WRT Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR 14 1:27.145 0.775
19 31 Milovan VESNIĆ ASK Vesnić Audi RS3 LMS TCR 16 1:27.317 0.947
20 36 Enrico BETTERA Pit Lane Competizioni Audi RS3 LMS TCR 15 1:28.343 1.973
21 32 Luigi FERRARA Top Run Motorsport Subaru WRX STi TCR 15 1:28.951 2.581
22 55 Ferenc FICZA Zele Racing SEAT León TCR 0 No time
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