Comtoyou Racing’s Gilles Magnus says he feels “super delighted” to have secured his maiden TCR Europe pole position at his home round at the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps.
The Belgian racer headed an Audi 1-2 in qualifying ahead of Santiago Urrutia’s WRT-run machine, besting him by just over half a tenth with his 2:28.855 lap time.
Magnus told TouringCars.Net he was happy to capitalise on the Audi’s pace at the 4.35-mile circuit, especially as he wanted to secure pole at his home round, but knew he would face pressure from Urrutia.
“We knew the Audi would be quick here, we’ve had some more difficult weekends like Budapest and probably Oschersleben will be difficult as well,” said Magnus.
“But we knew this was our track and it’s my home track as well so I really wanted to be on pole, and I knew it was going to be tough with Urrutia because he’s a good driver and he’s experienced.
“But we managed to not make a mistake, because in Q2 you only have one lap where the tyre peaks so hard so you have to do it in one lap.
“We did it and we put the three sectors together and got pole. I’m super delighted.”
With drivers emphasising the importance of nailing the first flying lap while the tyres “peak,” but also not crashing like championship contenders Julien Briché and Josh Files, Magnus said the challenge made securing pole even sweeter.
“Mentally it’s really tough because you know you’ve only really got lap and you’ve got to do it then,” he said.
“It’s really like a little voice in your head like ‘Not now, no mistakes! Don’t brake too late!’ For sure in Raidillon you’ve got to be on the absolute limit.
“If you’re not on the absolute limit you’ll be slow and if you’re on the limit then there is the risk that you go off like Josh Files and Julien Briche.
“Both guys that went off are first and second in the championship so we can see that the quick guys –they push to the limit – and the risk is there to go off.”
Magnus admits converting his maiden pole position into a first race win will be “tough” but believes his focus on race pace after struggling in this area at Hockenheim will be key to a successful race.
“The race will be tough, but we’ve worked pretty hard on the race pace from Hockenheim onwards, because we had some issues there,” Magnus said.
“I feel confident but it will be a tough race, we need to think about the championship as well and not do stupid things, but just finish in a good position and get the best result and as much points as possible.”
The opening race for TCR Europe at the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps is set to start at 12:50 CEST [12:50 BST].