Mikel Azcona tops red flag interrupted opening Jarama practice

Mikel Azcona continued his fine return to the TCR Europe series by taking the fastest time in the opening Jarama practice session that was halted twice by red flags.

2018 TCR Europe champion Azcona – who took a memorable double win last time out at Spa – set a 1 minute 38.884 time that was over three tenths of a second quicker than anybody else on Friday morning.

The session was paused twice after firstly series debutant Fernando Navarrete and then Brutal Fish Racing’s Marin Ryba both had to have their cars recovered from the circuit.

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Azcona was the first of the leading drivers to set a fast time and at one point was over a second quicker than the rest of the field.

The delays therefore caused the rest of the field to set fast times late on, with Azcona’s nearest challenger being the Peugeot of Teddy Clairet.

Just 0.071 seconds split him and Mat’o Homola who took third, while the highest placed championship contender was Mehdi Bennani who finished fourth in the ComToYou Racing Audi.

The Moroccan driver currently sits 26 points adrift of leader Mike Halder going into the final rounds of the season this weekend.

Fifth was the second of the Team Clairet Sport Peugeot’s of Jimmy Clairet, who finished ahead of Daniel Nagy who is still in with a chance of taking the title if things go his way in Spain.

Jessica Bäckman meanwhile took seventh ahead of the impressive series debutant Franco Girolami.

The younger brother of WTCR regular Néstor this weekend is driving a PSS Racing Team Honda Civic and he finished ahead of Pepe Oriola and Nicola Baert who completed the top 10.

Series leader Mike Halder could only manage 15th quickest, while John Filippi, currently third in the title standings was 13th fastest and one place behind championship rival Dan Lloyd set the 12th quickest time.

The second free practices session of the weekend at Jarama takes place at 13:10 CEST (12:10 BST).

Session results

POS NO DRIVER NAT ENTRANT CAR LAPS TIME GAP
1 96 Mikel AZCONA Volcano Motorsport CUPRA TCR 13 1:38.884 0.000
2 20 Teddy CLAIRET Team Clairet Sport Peugeot 308 TCR 13 1:39.218 0.334
3 70 Mat’o HOMOLA BRC Racing Team Hyundai i30 N TCR 15 1:39.289 0.405
4 250 Mehdi BENNANI Comtoyou Racing Audi RS3 LMS TCR 13 1:39.294 0.410
5 21 Jimmy CLAIRET Team Clairet Sport Peugeot 308 TCR 11 1:39.320 0.436
6 99 Dániel NAGY BRC Racing Team Hyundai i30 N TCR 14 1:39.368 0.484
7 26 Jessica BÄCKMAN Target Competition Hyundai i30 N TCR 14 1:39.534 0.650
8 72 Franco GIROLAMI PSS Racing Team Honda Civic Type-R FK8 TCR 14 1:39.597 0.713
9 74 Pepe ORIOLA Brutal Fish Racing Team Honda Civic Type-R FK8 TCR 13 1:39.733 0.849
10 8 Nicolas BAERT Comtoyou Racing Audi RS3 LMS TCR 14 1:39.741 0.857
11 19 Andreas BÄCKMAN Target Competition Hyundai i30 N TCR 14 1:39.752 0.868
12 123 Daniel LLOYD Brutal Fish Racing Team Honda Civic Type-R FK8 TCR 14 1:39.866 0.982
13 27 John FILIPPI Target Competition Hyundai i30 N TCR 13 1:39.892 1.008
14 33 José Manuel SAPAG Target Competition Hyundai i30 N TCR 14 1:40.003 1.119
15 7 Mike HALDER Profi Car Team Halder Honda Civic Type-R FK8 TCR 12 1:40.042 1.158
16 31 Tom CORONEL Boutsen Ginion Racing Honda Civic Type-R FK8 TCR 14 1:40.151 1.267
17 24 Julien BRICHÉ JSB Compétition Peugeot 308 TCR 15 1:40.170 1.286
18 16 Evgenii LEONOV Volcano Motorsport CUPRA TCR 14 1:40.384 1.500
19 199 Fernando NAVARRETE SMC Junior Motorsport Peugeot 308 TCR 15 1:41.102 2.218
20 10 Viktor DAVIDOVSKI PSS Racing Team Honda Civic Type-R FK8 TCR 14 1:41.749 2.865
21 25 Sami TAOUFIK Comtoyou Racing Audi RS3 LMS TCR 9 1:42.383 3.499
22 13 Enrique HERNANDO SMC Junior Motorsport Peugeot 308 TCR 8 1:44.131 5.247
23 17 Martin RYBA Brutal Fish Racing Team Honda Civic Type-R FK8 TCR 8 1:47.400 8.516
24 53 Michelle HALDER Profi Car Team Halder Honda Civic Type-R FK8 TCR 6 1:53.789 14.905
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