Santiago Urrutia continues Cyan Racing’s strong start in WTCR practice two

Santiago Urrutia was quickest of all in WTCR free practice two. The Lynk & Co continues to look like the strongest overall package at Circuit Pau-Arnos, however Honda, Audi and Hyundai are all within touching distance of the Chinese marque’s pace. 

Indeed, Cyan Racing picked up where they left off in free practice one, with Thed Bjork topping the time sheets in the early stages thanks to a 01:19.571 lap time. In fact, the Swedish outfit had a monopoly over the top four positions, with Yann Ehrlacher, Urrutia and Yvan Muller all close behind Bjork after the opening handful of laps.

Norbert Michelisz was the first driver to breach the quartet ten minutes into the session though, slotting into third with a lap time of 01:19.606. That became fourth a few minutes later however, as Urrutia then went fastest of all, four hundredths of a second quicker than his team-mate.

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Esteban Guerrieri moved up to sixth meanwhile, despite a sketchy trip through the gravel at turn three. Gilles Magnus then lost the rear end of his Audi, and did exactly the same thing, albeit in far more spectacular fashion. 

With eleven minutes to go, Cyan Racing were finally knocked off from their perch at the top of the time sheets. Michelisz was looking strong in his Hyundai, and managed to set a new benchmark of 01:19.478. 

Bjork returned to pit lane with a left-front puncture a few minutes after that, but in the fourth Lynk & Co, Muller shot up the order to go quickest of all. 01:19.382 was the time he managed to set – the fastest that we had seen all day at that point. 

At least, that was until Nestor Girolami went exactly four hundredths of a second quicker despite not setting a single purple sector. Just as was the case at Autodrom Most, it appeared as though Honda were leaving things late to show their true colours ahead of qualifying. 

The times wouldn’t stop falling there though. Urrutia was the next driver to reclaim top spot, circulating the track in 01:19.295. There was also reason for slight optimism for Audi, as Nathanael Berthon then went fourth-fastest, just a tenth of a second away from Urrutia’s pace. 

In the end, that is how the order would stay, with Urrutia leading Girolami and Muller. Berthon and Michelisz completed the top five, meaning that although Cyan Racing are looking strong, there is still a good spread of different marques able to set competitive lap times here. 

Ehrlacher and Bjork wound up sixth and seventh, while Tom Coronel could take solace from improved pace in eighth.

Gabriele Tarquini finished the session ninth-fastest, ahead of Frederic Vervisch in tenth. Mikel Azcona was once again the fastest CUPRA driver, though he could only manage a lap time good enough for twelfth. 

Qualifying concludes today’s running later this afternoon at 16:00 CEST (15:00 BST).

Session results

POS NO NAT DRIVER ENTRANT CAR LAPS TIME GAP
1 12 Santiago URRUTIA Cyan Performance Lynk & Co Lynk & Co 03 TCR 14 1:19.295
2 29 Néstor GIROLAMI ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport Honda Civic Type-R FK8 TCR 13 1:19.342 0.047
3 100 Yvan MULLER Cyan Racing Lynk & Co Lynk & Co 03 TCR 14 1:19.382 0.087
4 17 Nathanaël BERTHON Comtoyou DHL Team Audi Sport Audi RS3 LMS TCR 15 1:19.403 0.108
5 5 Norbert MICHELISZ BRC Hyundai N LUKOIL Squadra Corse Hyundai Elantra N TCR 17 1:19.469 0.174
6 68 Yann EHRLACHER Cyan Racing Lynk & Co Lynk & Co 03 TCR 14 1:19.516 0.221
7 11 Thed BJÖRK Cyan Performance Lynk & Co Lynk & Co 03 TCR 16 1:19.571 0.276
8 32 Tom CORONEL Comtoyou DHL Team Audi Sport Audi RS3 LMS TCR 16 1:19.571 0.276
9 3 Gabriele TARQUINI BRC Hyundai N LUKOIL Squadra Corse Hyundai Elantra N TCR 14 1:19.658 0.363
10 22 Frédéric VERVISCH Comtoyou Team Audi Sport Audi RS3 LMS TCR 17 1:19.690 0.395
11 16 Gilles MAGNUS Comtoyou Team Audi Sport Audi RS3 LMS TCR 16 1:19.699 0.404
12 96 Mikel AZCONA Zengő Motorsport CUPRA Leon Competición TCR 17 1:19.791 0.496
13 69 Jean-Karl VERNAY Engstler Hyundai N Liqui Moly Racing Team Hyundai Elantra N TCR 13 1:19.837 0.542
14 9 Attila TASSI ALL-INKL.DE Münnich Motorsport Honda Civic Type-R FK8 TCR 16 1:19.845 0.550
15 86 Esteban GUERRIERI ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport Honda Civic Type-R FK8 TCR 15 1:19.902 0.607
16 8 Luca ENGSTLER Engstler Hyundai N Liqui Moly Racing Team Hyundai Elantra N TCR 16 1:20.117 0.822
17 79 Rob HUFF Zengő Motorsport CUPRA Leon Competición TCR 14 1:20.264 0.969
18 18 Tiago MONTEIRO ALL-INKL.DE Münnich Motorsport Honda Civic Type-R FK8 TCR 17 1:20.369 1.074
19 28 Jordi GENÉ Zengő Motorsport CUPRA Leon Competición TCR 16 1:20.447 1.152
20 55 Bence BOLDIZS Zengő Motorsport Drivers’ Academy CUPRA Leon Competición TCR 17 1:21.038 1.743
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