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Josh Files pips Jean-Karl Vernay in second Monza practice

Honda racer Josh Files rose to the top of the times in the second free practice session for the TCR Europe series at Monza, beating the Audi of long-time pace-setter Jean-Karl Vernay by a mere 0.003 seconds..

Vernay was the early pace-setter in his Audi, immediately going below the 2-minute mark on his first flying lap, with the RS3 expected to be the form car at the high-speed Italian circuit this weekend.

But in the end it was Files who topped the times, after the Brit put his Honda at the top with just two minutes to go, having previously had a top ten time before he put in a lap of 1 minute 58.886 seconds, just one tenth slower than Vernay’s best time in the day’s earlier session.

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Championship challenger Mikel Azcona was third quickest and the leading CUPRA driver, just under two tenths slower than Files’ pace.

Target Competition’s Dušan Borković was the best Hyundai driver in fourth, having improved his time twice in the final ten minutes, ahead of the leading Volkswagen of Comtoyou Racing’s Maxime Potty in fifth.

The other two Target Hyundais of Kris Richard and Reece Barr were sixth and seventh respectively, the duo being the last of the drivers within a second of the pace.

TCR Europe newcomer José Manuel Sapag, who is the only non-European in the field this weekend, was an impressive eighth in his Baporo Motorsport CUPRA.

M1RA’s Dániel Nagy and Team Mulsanne’s Fabrizio Giovanardi completed the top ten, with the latter having gone off on his last flying lap to bring out the yellow flags with just two minutes to go.

Autodis Racing by Piro Sports’ Peter Terting was 11th quickest, ahead of the second PCR Sport CUPRA of Danny Kroes in 12th. TCR Italy leader Salvatore Tavano was 13th quickest.

Francesco Abreu is the sole Peugeot representative this weekend, due to Julien Briché’s absence, and ended the session in 14th, ahead of an impressive showing by Cosimo Barberini in the leading Subaru in 15th.

TCR UK regular Ollie Taylor had been in the top half of the times at the half-way point of the session, but the Pyro Motorsport driver slipped back to 18th by the time the chequered flag came out, as the Brit increases his familiarity with a circuit which is brand new to him.

Having missed first practice, CRC’s Daniele Cappellari made it out on to the circuit for second practice but lapped slowest of all in his Volkswagen, some 3.8 seconds off the pace.

Qualifying is scheduled to take place at 11:45 CEST (10:45 BST) on Saturday.

Session results

1 99 Josh FILES Hell Energy Racing with KCMG Honda Civic Type R FK7 TCR 10 1:58.886 0.000
2 69 Jean-Karl VERNAY Leopard Lukoil Team Audi RS3 LMS TCR 13 1:58.889 0.003
3 25 Mikel AZCONA PCR Sport CUPRA TCR 13 1:59.078 0.192
4 62 Dušan BORKOVIĆ Target Competition Hyundai i30 N TCR 12 1:59.213 0.327
5 88 Maxime POTTY Comtoyou Racing Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR 12 1:59.308 0.422
6 94 Kris RICHARD Target Competition Hyundai i30 N TCR 12 1:59.526 0.640
7 8 Reece BARR Target Competition Hyundai i30 N TCR 11 1:59.711 0.825
8 79 José Manuel SAPAG Baporo Motorsport CUPRA TCR 12 1:59.887 1.001
9 999 Dániel NAGY M1RA Hyundai i30 N TCR 12 1:59.987 1.101
10 18 Fabrizio GIOVANARDI Team Mulsanne Alfa Romeo Giulietta TCR 9 1:59.991 1.105
11 15 Peter TERTING Autodis Racing by Piro Sports Hyundai i30 N TCR 13 2:00.045 1.159
12 38 Danny KROES PCR Sport CUPRA TCR 12 2:00.065 1.179
13 44 Salvatore TAVANO Scuderia Girasole CUPRA TCR 12 2:00.183 1.297
14 23 Francisco ABREU Sports & You Peugeot 308 TCR 13 2:00.295 1.409
15 3 Cosimo BARBERINI Race Republic Subaru WRX STi TCR 8 2:00.298 1.412
16 16 Nicola BALDAN M1RA Hyundai i30 N TCR 12 2:00.316 1.430
17 9 Attila TASSI Hell Energy Racing with KCMG Honda Civic Type R FK7 TCR 12 2:00.461 1.575
18 32 Ollie TAYLOR Pyro Motorsport Honda Civic Type R FK7 TCR 12 2:00.518 1.632
19 630 Benjamin LESSENNES Autodis Racing by THX Honda Civic Type R FK7 TCR 13 2:00.522 1.636
20 34 Stian PAULSEN Stian Paulsen Racing CUPRA TCR 11 2:00.550 1.664
21 11 Jens Reno MØLLER Reno Racing Honda Civic Type R FK7 TCR 12 2:00.550 1.664
22 7 Igor STEFANOVSKI Stefanovski Racing Team Hyundai i30 N TCR 13 2:00.848 1.962
23 10 Viktor DAVIDOVSKY PSS Racing Team Honda Civic Type R FK7 TCR 11 2:01.053 2.167
24 63 Giovanni ALTOÈ Pit Lane Competizioni Audi RS3 LMS TCR DSG 11 2:01.157 2.271
25 42 Stefano COMINI Autodis Racing by THX Honda Civic Type R FK7 TCR 11 2:01.212 2.326
26 77 Roberto RUSSO Race Republic – Top Run Motorsport Subaru WRX STi TCR 9 2:01.657 2.771
27 17 Martin RYBA Brutal Fish Racing Team Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR 9 2:02.371 3.485
28 76 Daniele CAPPELLARI CRC – Cappellari Reparto Corse Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR 13 2:02.718 3.832
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