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.
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).
|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|