Nathanael Berthon emerged as the quickest driver in the second free practice session of the FIA World Touring Car Cup event at Motorland Aragon. However, CUPRA, Lynk & Co and Hyundai all seem to be in the mix for a good result this weekend.
Under the blazing sun, it was Rob Huff who was the first to go quickest though, albeit over a second slower than the lap time managed by Tom Coronel in today’s earlier practice session.
Mikel Azcona also popped up in fourth place early on, possibly pointing towards a bit more competitiveness within the CUPRA package compared to what they managed to show this morning.
However, after ten minutes of running, Audi comprehensively returned to the top of the pile, as Berthon went four tenths of a second quicker than Huff. Meanwhile, Gabriele Tarquini and Yvan Muller held third and fourth spot at this stage for Hyundai and Lynk & Co, with Azcona completing the top five.
The order didn’t stay that way for long though, as Norbert Michelisz moved up into fourth, before Thed Bjork then slotted into second place behind Berthon.
With two thirds of the session spent, Luca Engstler then went on a charge to post the third-quickest lap time, marking himself as Hyundai’s best performer in the session.
Esteban Guerrieri then had a small technical drama in his Honda, but luckily managed to get it going again to avoid any repeat of the red flags we had in Free Practice One.
While the Argentine continued to nurse his Civic back to the pit lane, Michelisz posted another hot lap, this time dethroning Hyundai stablemate Engstler from third.
Santiago Urrutia also improved as the clock ticked down, moving up to fifth in his Lynk & Co to push Huff back to sixth. In fact, he wasn’t the only Cyan Racing driver to improve in the latter stages, as Yann Ehrlacher shot up all the way to second place.
Berthon then solidified his presence at the top of the timesheets by going just a few hundredths of a second quicker than he had previously managed, posting a benchmark lap time of 2:06.181 – still around six tenths of a second short of the time managed by Coronel in FP1.
Behind Berthon, Azcona also made sharp progress up the order to snatch second away from Ehrlacher in the dying moments of the final practice session, suggesting that Audi and CUPRA may well reap the best rewards in qualifying later this afternoon.
Outside of the two Volkswagen Group brands, however, Cyan Racing Lynk & Co would appear to be their nearest challengers at this circuit. Ehrlacher and Bjork would finish the session in third and fourth place, with Urrutia and Muller both in the top ten as well in eighth and tenth position respectively.
Michelisz and Engstler were Hyundai’s best representatives in fifth and sixth, while Gilles Magnus and Huff rounded out the top ten in seventh in ninth.
Further back, points leader Jean-Karl Vernay still couldn’t quite match the best of the other Hyundai drivers, this time posting a lap time good enough for twelfth.
Honda are the marque which is struggling the most around this circuit though, with Nestor Girolami heading their quartet of entries all the way down in sixteenth place.
Qualifying is set to be a closely-fought affair then, as the battle for pole position gets underway later this afternoon at 16:30 local time (15:30 BST).
|1||17||Nathanaël BERTHON||Comtoyou DHL Team Audi Sport||Audi RS3 LMS TCR||6||2:06.181||–|
|2||96||Mikel AZCONA||Zengő Motorsport||CUPRA Leon Competición TCR||8||2:06.347||0.166|
|3||68||Yann EHRLACHER||Cyan Racing Lynk & Co||Lynk & Co 03 TCR||10||2:06.391||0.210|
|4||11||Thed BJÖRK||Cyan Performance Lynk & Co||Lynk & Co 03 TCR||10||2:06.437||0.256|
|5||5||Norbert MICHELISZ||BRC Hyundai N LUKOIL Squadra Corse||Hyundai Elantra N TCR||11||2:06.454||0.273|
|6||8||Luca ENGSTLER||Engstler Hyundai N Liqui Moly Racing Team||Hyundai Elantra N TCR||11||2:06.470||0.289|
|7||16||Gilles MAGNUS||Comtoyou Team Audi Sport||Audi RS3 LMS TCR||10||2:06.559||0.378|
|8||12||Santiago URRUTIA||Cyan Performance Lynk & Co||Lynk & Co 03 TCR||9||2:06.567||0.386|
|9||79||Rob HUFF||Zengő Motorsport||CUPRA Leon Competición TCR||11||2:06.673||0.492|
|10||100||Yvan MULLER||Cyan Racing Lynk & Co||Lynk & Co 03 TCR||11||2:06.676||0.495|
|11||3||Gabriele TARQUINI||BRC Hyundai N LUKOIL Squadra Corse||Hyundai Elantra N TCR||9||2:06.682||0.501|
|12||69||Jean-Karl VERNAY||Engstler Hyundai N Liqui Moly Racing Team||Hyundai Elantra N TCR||11||2:07.224||1.043|
|13||32||Tom CORONEL||Comtoyou DHL Team Audi Sport||Audi RS3 LMS TCR||12||2:07.230||1.049|
|14||28||Jordi GENÉ||Zengő Motorsport Drivers’ Academy||CUPRA Leon Competición TCR||9||2:07.305||1.124|
|15||22||Frédéric VERVISCH||Comtoyou Team Audi Sport||Audi RS3 LMS TCR||12||2:07.367||1.186|
|16||29||Néstor GIROLAMI||ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport||Honda Civic Type-R FK8 TCR||9||2:07.373||1.192|
|17||86||Esteban GUERRIERI||ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport||Honda Civic Type-R FK8 TCR||11||2:07.548||1.367|
|18||9||Attila TASSI||ALL-INKL.DE Münnich Motorsport||Honda Civic Type-R FK8 TCR||10||2:07.718||1.537|
|19||18||Tiago MONTEIRO||ALL-INKL.DE Münnich Motorsport||Honda Civic Type-R FK8 TCR||10||2:07.901||1.720|
|20||55||Bence BOLDIZS||Zengő Motorsport Drivers’ Academy||CUPRA Leon Competición TCR||11||2:08.037||1.856|
|21||26||Jessica BÄCKMAN||Target Competition||Hyundai Elantra N TCR||12||2:08.799||2.618|
|22||19||Andreas BÄCKMAN||Target Competition||Hyundai Elantra N TCR||11||2:08.846||2.665|