Mikel Azcona takes Jarama pole as several championship contenders struggle

Mikel Azcona took pole position for the opening race of the TCR Europe series at Jarama as a number of championship frontrunners – including leader Mike Halder – failed to make it out of Q1.

Azcona, who was also the quickest driver in the opening free practice session on Friday morning, set the fastest time in Q1 before then going on to grab pole position in the ten-minute shoot out in the second part of the session.

Both parts had a familiar feel about them, with Azcona setting the fastest time ahead of the Clairet brothers, Teddy and Jimmy – the pair had also finished in second and third behind the Spaniard in Q1.

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Azcona then went quickest early in Q2 with the fastest time of the weekend – a 1 minute 37.210 – with him again being followed on the leaderboard again by both of the Team Clairet Sport drivers.

Mike Halder in his Profi Car Team Halder Honda Civic continued his poor start to the weekend and could only manage 15th quickest, while John Filippi did make it to Q2 although only set the 11th fastest time.

A late change took place for fourth on the grid for tomorrows opening race of the day after Mat’o Homola pipped second in the championship Mehdi Bennani for the grid spot on his final run.

Bennani, who also grabs a potentially vital six points as a result of his qualifying performance, has now closed the gap to Halder in the championship 20 points with the two races this weekend to go.

Homola and Bennani were separated by just 0.030 seconds, with the Moroccan driver the highest placed driver in contention for the championship on the grid.

Sixth went to Julien Briché, with the French driver finishing Q2 ahead of Andreas Bäckman while another of the championship front runners Nicolas Baert, took eighth quickest in the final qualifying session of the year.

The second of the Bäckman siblings – Jessica – finished ninth in the Target Competition Hyundai, with Daniel Nagy – who will start race two from reverse grid pole – completing the top ten in Q2.

Dan Lloyd meanwhile, also someone who is still mathematically in the hunt for the championship, had an awful session on Friday afternoon and could only manage 22nd quickest ahead of Brutal Fish Racing team-mate Martin Ryba.

Race one at Jarama takes place tomorrow at 11:20 CET (10:20 GMT).

Q2 results

POS NO DRIVER NAT ENTRANT CAR LAPS TIME GAP
1 96 Mikel AZCONA Volcano Motorsport CUPRA TCR 5 1:37.210 0.000
2 20 Teddy CLAIRET Team Clairet Sport Peugeot 308 TCR 5 1:37.895 0.685
3 21 Jimmy CLAIRET Team Clairet Sport Peugeot 308 TCR 5 1:37.918 0.708
4 70 Mat’o HOMOLA BRC Racing Team Hyundai i30 N TCR 5 1:37.986 0.776
5 250 Mehdi BENNANI Comtoyou Racing Audi RS3 LMS TCR 5 1:38.016 0.806
6 24 Julien BRICHÉ JSB Compétition Peugeot 308 TCR 5 1:38.053 0.843
7 19 Andreas BÄCKMAN Target Competition Hyundai i30 N TCR 5 1:38.077 0.867
8 8 Nicolas BAERT Comtoyou Racing Audi RS3 LMS TCR 5 1:38.181 0.971
9 26 Jessica BÄCKMAN Target Competition Hyundai i30 N TCR 5 1:38.371 1.161
10 99 Dániel NAGY BRC Racing Team Hyundai i30 N TCR 5 1:38.384 1.174
11 27 John FILIPPI Target Competition Hyundai i30 N TCR 4 1:38.420 1.210
12 25 Sami TAOUFIK Comtoyou Racing Audi RS3 LMS TCR 5 1:38.466 1.256

Q1 results

POS NO DRIVER NAT ENTRANT CAR LAPS TIME GAP
1 96 Mikel AZCONA Volcano Motorsport CUPRA TCR 6 1:37.851 0.000
2 20 Teddy CLAIRET Team Clairet Sport Peugeot 308 TCR 4 1:37.892 0.041
3 21 Jimmy CLAIRET Team Clairet Sport Peugeot 308 TCR 4 1:37.934 0.083
4 70 Mat’o HOMOLA BRC Racing Team Hyundai i30 N TCR 10 1:38.004 0.153
5 26 Jessica BÄCKMAN Target Competition Hyundai i30 N TCR 8 1:38.131 0.280
6 8 Nicolas BAERT Comtoyou Racing Audi RS3 LMS TCR 7 1:38.310 0.459
7 24 Julien BRICHÉ JSB Compétition Peugeot 308 TCR 10 1:38.312 0.461
8 99 Dániel NAGY BRC Racing Team Hyundai i30 N TCR 10 1:38.368 0.517
9 19 Andreas BÄCKMAN Target Competition Hyundai i30 N TCR 9 1:38.389 0.538
10 27 John FILIPPI Target Competition Hyundai i30 N TCR 9 1:38.513 0.662
11 250 Mehdi BENNANI Comtoyou Racing Audi RS3 LMS TCR 9 1:38.598 0.747
12 25 Sami TAOUFIK Comtoyou Racing Audi RS3 LMS TCR 9 1:38.602 0.751
13 72 Franco GIROLAMI PSS Racing Team Honda Civic Type-R FK8 TCR 8 1:38.699 0.848
14 74 Pepe ORIOLA Brutal Fish Racing Team Honda Civic Type-R FK8 TCR 8 1:38.743 0.892
15 7 Mike HALDER Profi Car Team Halder Honda Civic Type-R FK8 TCR 10 1:38.775 0.924
16 33 José Manuel SAPAG Target Competition Hyundai i30 N TCR 8 1:39.052 1.201
17 31 Tom CORONEL Boutsen Ginion Racing Honda Civic Type-R FK8 TCR 8 1:39.054 1.203
18 16 Evgenii LEONOV Volcano Motorsport CUPRA TCR 10 1:39.124 1.273
19 10 Viktor DAVIDOVSKI PSS Racing Team Honda Civic Type-R FK8 TCR 7 1:39.156 1.305
20 53 Michelle HALDER Profi Car Team Halder Honda Civic Type-R FK8 TCR 8 1:39.166 1.315
21 199 Fernando NAVARRETE SMC Junior Motorsport Peugeot 308 TCR 9 1:39.173 1.322
22 123 Daniel LLOYD Brutal Fish Racing Team Honda Civic Type-R FK8 TCR 8 1:39.328 1.477
23 17 Martin RYBA Brutal Fish Racing Team Honda Civic Type-R FK8 TCR 10 1:39.900 2.049
24 13 Enrique HERNANDO SMC Junior Motorsport Peugeot 308 TCR 11 1:39.982 2.131
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