Volcano Motorsport’s Mikel Azcona was in a league of his own in the opening TCR Europe practice session at the Nürburgring, as the CUPRA driver posted a best time which was almost nine tenths of a second faster than anyone else.
Azcona was a huge 0.870 seconds clear of the Honda of PSS Racing’s Franco Girolami, the only other driver to be within a second of the Spaniard.
“I’m really happy with the result,” said Azcona. “We used new tyres on the front in the final part of free practice one which gave me a lot of grip and at the same time I did a perfect lap and went into every corner on the limit.
“I will have to repeat that lap in qualifying but I’m very happy with how the car is working even if we are struggling a little bit in one or two areas.
“Franco Girolami and I are the two drivers battling for the championship; he is a really good driver and he has a good chance to win the title this year.
“It’s going to be tough because he will be putting pressure on me, but I will do my best as always and I will try to go for it for the title.
“I have something like fifty points difference and so for me it’s more relaxed, but I will push maximum like always.”
Tom Coronel put his Comtoyou Racing Audi in third, but the Dutchman was over two seconds off the pace in a session which took place on a dry track.
Teddy Clairet was the best of the Peugeot drivers in fourth, ahead of the VRC-run Audi of Klim Gavrilov in fifth.
Sixth-placed Jáchym Galáš was the only other driver within three seconds of Azcona, with the Slovak racer also being the best of the two Hyundai i30s in the field.
The top ten was completed by Nicolas Baert’s Audi, the returning Viktor Davidovski’s Honda, Niels Langeveld’s Hyundai Elantra and Dušan Borković’s Audi.
Lukas Stolarczyk, making his début in TCR Europe this weekend, was 17th of the 18 drivers, seven seconds off the pace.
Five drivers – Jack Young, Isidro Callejas, Martin Ryba, Evgenii Leonov and Dániel Nagy – all failed to post a time in the session.
Second practice is scheduled to get underway at 15:00 CEST (14:00 BST).
|1||96||Mikel AZCONA||Volcano Motorsport||CUPRA Leon Competición TCR||10||2:06.591||–|
|2||72||Franco GIROLAMI||PSS Racing Team||Honda Civic Type-R FK8 TCR||12||2:07.461||0.870|
|3||32||Tom CORONEL||Comtoyou Racing||Audi RS3 LMS TCR||9||2:08.722||2.131|
|4||20||Teddy CLAIRET||Team Clairet Sport||Peugeot 308 TCR||13||2:08.853||2.262|
|5||14||Klim GAVRILOV||VRC-Team||Audi RS3 LMS TCR||12||2:09.463||2.872|
|6||24||Jáchym GALÁŠ||Janík Motorsport||Hyundai i30 N TCR||12||2:09.576||2.985|
|7||8||Nicolas BAERT||Comtoyou Racing||Audi RS3 LMS TCR||12||2:09.825||3.234|
|8||110||Viktor DAVIDOVSKI||PSS Racing Team||Honda Civic Type-R FK8 TCR||11||2:09.868||3.277|
|9||10||Niels LANGEVELD||Sébastien Loeb Racing||Hyundai Elantra N TCR||11||2:10.257||3.666|
|10||162||Dušan BORKOVIĆ||Comtoyou Racing||Audi RS3 LMS TCR||11||2:10.308||3.717|
|11||21||Jimmy CLAIRET||Team Clairet Sport||Peugeot 308 TCR||8||2:10.440||3.849|
|12||250||Mehdi BENNANI||Sébastien Loeb Racing||Hyundai Elantra N TCR||10||2:10.724||4.133|
|13||44||Felice JELMINI||Sébastien Loeb Racing||Hyundai Elantra N TCR||12||2:10.859||4.268|
|14||70||Mat’o HOMOLA||Janík Motorsport||Hyundai i30 N TCR||10||2:10.875||4.284|
|15||25||Sami TAOUFIK||Sébastien Loeb Racing||Hyundai Elantra N TCR||11||2:11.004||4.413|
|16||66||Gilles COLOMBANI||Team Clairet Sport||CUPRA TCR||12||2:11.989||5.398|
|17||53||Lukas STOLARCZYK||BTC Maszyny||Audi RS3 LMS TCR||13||2:13.815||7.224|
|18||77||Sylvain PUSSIER||Team Clairet Sport||CUPRA TCR||3||2:20.114||13.523|