Frédéric Vervisch ended up quickest of all in the second and final WTCR practice session of the week, though Hyundai again looked strong just behind.
The dry conditions of earlier in the day were long gone however, as rain began to fall around the Eifel mountains.
With the track declared wet, it was unlikely that we would see lap times comparable to those set earlier on in the day, however the rain wasn’t quite coming down hard enough to warrant a switch over to wet-weather tyres during the first few minutes of running.
Norbert Michelisz set the early benchmark on slicks for Hyundai with a lap time of 09:46.949, however Hyundai stablemate Luca Engstler continued his fine Thursday form to go a second clear of the Hungarian.
Belgian ace Vervisch then hauled his Audi up to the top of the standings with a lap time of 09:44.908 minutes. However, Gilles Magnus in the second of the Comtoyou Racing RS3s got it all wrong towards the end of the lap.
After running wide at the penultimate corner before the Döttinger Höhe straight, the 2020 Rookie of the Year brushed the barrier and caused damage to the left-front corner of his brand new car.
Yellow flags in the fourth sector effectively neutralised running briefly as Magnus’ car was recovered by the marshals, which put an end to Attila Tassi’s flying lap that had been looking good enough to go fastest of all.
The stricken Audi was towed out of the way with ten minutes left of the session, so there was still plenty of time to improve upon the lap time set by Vervisch. Tom Coronel had been on schedule to do exactly that, but in the second half of the lap the weather seemed to worsen, and so the Dutchman decided to bail back into the pits to swap over to wets.
Given the increasingly slippery conditions, Vervisch’s lap time would never realistically come under threat in the end, and so the Belgian finished the session on top. However, he stopped on circuit at the Caracciola-Karrussell, suggesting that there will be a long night ahead for the Comtoyou Racing Audi Sport mechanics.
Engstler, meanwhile, followed up third place in practice one with second place in this session, leaving the youngster in seemingly good stead ahead of qualifying at his home event, while fellow Hyundai ace Michelisz rounded out the top three.
Tiago Monteiro has started the year well and was the best-placed Honda driver in free practice two in fourth position. Santiago Urrutia, meanwhile, rounded out the top five – albeit nearly six seconds off the pace of Vervisch as only the first handful of cars were able to set a lap time before the heavens really began to open.
Coronel did manage to improve up into sixth place however, two seconds ahead of Yvan Muller who will just be happy not to have crashed like he did in practice one.
Muller’s compatriot Jean-Karl Vernay finally got some track time after a hampered earlier session, and wound up in eighth.
Tassi had been looking strong but as a result of the worsening weather placed no higher than ninth, while Mikel Azcona completed the top ten for CUPRA.
Rob Huff is making steady progress with his new car as Azcona’s team-mate, and placed eleventh, though Jordi Gené was still a further thirty seconds off the pace in the third Leon down in eighteenth out of twenty-two entrants.
Overall though, this session was not about lap time, but instead about getting to grips with the cars in such changeable conditions. As a result, championship heavyweights Yann Ehrlacher and Esteban Guerrieri were mired down in thirteenth and fourteenth positions respectively, having been unable to set a lap time on slicks.
Qualifying gets underway tomorrow, Friday the 4th of June at 14:00 CEST (13:00 BST).
|1||22||Frédéric VERVISCH||Comtoyou Team Audi Sport||Audi RS3 LMS TCR||2||9:44.908||–|
|2||8||Luca ENGSTLER||Engstler Hyundai N Liqui Moly Racing Team||Hyundai Elantra N TCR||3||9:45.784||0.876|
|3||5||Norbert MICHELISZ||BRC Hyundai N LUKOIL Squadra Corse||Hyundai Elantra N TCR||4||9:46.949||2.041|
|4||18||Tiago MONTEIRO||ALL-INKL.DE Münnich Motorsport||Honda Civic Type-R FK8 TCR||3||9:50.795||5.887|
|5||12||Santiago URRUTIA||Cyan Performance Lynk & Co||Lynk & Co 03 TCR||3||9:50.903||5.995|
|6||32||Tom CORONEL||Comtoyou DHL Team Audi Sport||Audi RS3 LMS TCR||3||9:52.359||7.451|
|7||100||Yvan MULLER||Cyan Racing Lynk & Co||Lynk & Co 03 TCR||4||9:54.418||9.510|
|8||69||Jean-Karl VERNAY||Engstler Hyundai N Liqui Moly Racing Team||Hyundai Elantra N TCR||3||9:56.791||11.883|
|9||9||Attila TASSI||ALL-INKL.DE Münnich Motorsport||Honda Civic Type-R FK8 TCR||3||9:59.457||14.549|
|10||96||Mikel AZCONA||Zengő Motorsport||CUPRA Leon Competición TCR||3||9:59.669||14.761|
|11||79||Rob HUFF||Zengő Motorsport||CUPRA Leon Competición TCR||3||10:01.029||16.121|
|12||17||Nathanaël BERTHON||Comtoyou DHL Team Audi Sport||Audi RS3 LMS TCR||2||10:01.948||17.040|
|13||68||Yann EHRLACHER||Cyan Racing Lynk & Co||Lynk & Co 03 TCR||3||10:04.790||19.882|
|14||86||Esteban GUERRIERI||ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport||Honda Civic Type-R FK8 TCR||3||10:05.347||20.439|
|15||3||Gabriele TARQUINI||BRC Hyundai N LUKOIL Squadra Corse||Hyundai Elantra N TCR||3||10:06.190||21.282|
|16||29||Néstor GIROLAMI||ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport||Honda Civic Type-R FK8 TCR||3||10:06.936||22.028|
|17||19||Andreas BÄCKMAN||Target Competition||Hyundai Elantra N TCR||4||10:09.325||24.417|
|18||28||Jordi GENÉ||Zengő Motorsport Drivers’ Academy||CUPRA Leon Competición TCR||4||10:21.171||36.263|
|19||26||Jessica BÄCKMAN||Target Competition||Hyundai Elantra N TCR||2||10:38.969||54.061|
|20||11||Thed BJÖRK||Cyan Performance Lynk & Co||Lynk & Co 03 TCR||2||10:50.766||0.001|
|21||55||Bence BOLDIZS||Zengő Motorsport Drivers’ Academy||CUPRA Leon Competición TCR||2||10:58.331||0.001|
|22||16||Gilles MAGNUS||Comtoyou Team Audi Sport||Audi RS3 LMS TCR||0||No time||N/A|