Yann Ehrlacher back on top in second Sochi practice

Yann Ehrlacher reclaimed the championship narrative from Audi in the second FIA World Touring Car Cup practice session at Sochi Autodrom; the Frenchman’s Lynk & Co looking far better suited to the wet circuit compared to the German marque’s cars. 

Indeed, track conditions were much changed for Free Practice Two, with the heavens having opened since the prior session this morning. But, with a high chance of rain forecast for Sunday’s races, the drivers and teams will have been glad to get some practice time in these more relevant conditions.  

Just as in FP1, Yann Ehrlacher was the quickest out of the gates with a lap time of 02:30.467, while Gabriele Tarquini was six tenths further back. 

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After a torrid time earlier on, Mikel Azcona showed a good turn of pace for CUPRA as well. In the opening practice session, the Spaniard had only managed a lap time good enough for 19th, but in these early stages in wet conditions he found himself third-fastest.

Soon enough though, that became fourth, as Nestor Girolami showed some speed for Honda to go second. Elsewhere, Girolami’s team-mate Esteban Guerrieri wasn’t happy with the feel of the car at all. Despite this, he still managed to progress up into sixth. 

With the clock ticking down, Azcona then rose back above Girolami, while Guerrieri found a bit more pace to move into fourth. 

Nobody throughout the entire grid could better Ehrlacher’s initial benchmark though, and so the Frenchman ended the session at the top of the pile. Azcona’s runner-up performance in these conditions will give CUPRA some much-needed hope of a good result this weekend, as will Rob Huff’s climb up the order into seventh. 

In third place, Yvan Muller bedded in a new set of tyres in the latter stages, while Girolami and Guerrieri rounded out the top five for Honda. 

Tarquini would appear to be firmly in the mix if these wet conditions continue, ending the final practice session of his career in sixth position. 

Behind Huff, Norbert Michelisz was eighth for Hyundai, while Nathanael Berthon and Attila Tassi were ninth and tenth-quickest respectively. 

FP1 pace-setter Gilles Magnus could only manage a lap time fast enough for eleventh on the damp surface, meanwhile Frederic Vervisch wound up fourteenth. With that, it appeared as though the advantage in the title fight had swung back towards Ehrlacher and Lynk & Co. 

Tiago Monteiro once again sat out the session due to illness, while Jordi Gene was also stuck in the pits following the damage caused to his car in FP1. 

Next up, things get competitive, as qualifying for tomorrow’s races begins at 15:00 local time (12:00 GMT).

Session results

POS NO NAT DRIVER ENTRANT CAR LAPS TIME GAP
1 68 Yann EHRLACHER Cyan Racing Lynk & Co Lynk & Co 03 TCR 8 2:30.467
2 96 Mikel AZCONA Zengő Motorsport CUPRA Leon Competición TCR 10 2:30.488 0.021
3 100 Yvan MULLER Cyan Racing Lynk & Co Lynk & Co 03 TCR 9 2:30.533 0.066
4 29 Néstor GIROLAMI ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport Honda Civic Type-R FK8 TCR 9 2:30.760 0.293
5 86 Esteban GUERRIERI ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport Honda Civic Type-R FK8 TCR 9 2:30.941 0.474
6 3 Gabriele TARQUINI BRC Hyundai N LUKOIL Squadra Corse Hyundai Elantra N TCR 9 2:31.026 0.559
7 79 Rob HUFF Zengő Motorsport CUPRA Leon Competición TCR 10 2:31.038 0.571
8 5 Norbert MICHELISZ BRC Hyundai N LUKOIL Squadra Corse Hyundai Elantra N TCR 10 2:31.195 0.728
9 17 Nathanaël BERTHON Comtoyou DHL Team Audi Sport Audi RS3 LMS TCR 9 2:31.240 0.773
10 9 Attila TASSI ALL-INKL.DE Münnich Motorsport Honda Civic Type-R FK8 TCR 10 2:31.644 1.177
11 16 Gilles MAGNUS Comtoyou Team Audi Sport Audi RS3 LMS TCR 10 2:31.763 1.296
12 12 Santiago URRUTIA Cyan Performance Lynk & Co Lynk & Co 03 TCR 10 2:31.846 1.379
13 11 Thed BJÖRK Cyan Performance Lynk & Co Lynk & Co 03 TCR 9 2:31.900 1.433
14 22 Frédéric VERVISCH Comtoyou Team Audi Sport Audi RS3 LMS TCR 10 2:32.071 1.604
15 32 Tom CORONEL Comtoyou DHL Team Audi Sport Audi RS3 LMS TCR 9 2:32.230 1.763
16 55 Bence BOLDIZS Zengő Motorsport Drivers’ Academy CUPRA Leon Competición TCR 10 2:32.474 2.007
17 8 Luca ENGSTLER Engstler Hyundai N Liqui Moly Racing Team Hyundai Elantra N TCR 7 2:32.591 2.124
18 69 Jean-Karl VERNAY Engstler Hyundai N Liqui Moly Racing Team Hyundai Elantra N TCR 9 2:32.661 2.194
19 20 Kirill LADYGIN ROSNEFT LADA SPORT LADA Vesta Sport TCR 9 2:33.179 2.712
20 30 Mikhail MITYAEV ROSNEFT LADA SPORT LADA Vesta Sport TCR 10 2:34.417 3.950
21 18 Tiago MONTEIRO ALL-INKL.DE Münnich Motorsport Honda Civic Type-R FK8 TCR 0 No time N/A
22 28 Jordi GENÉ Zengő Motorsport CUPRA Leon Competición TCR 0 No time N/A
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