John Filippi sets the early pace at Circuit Paul Ricard

Sébastien Loeb Racing’s John Filippi was the fastest driver in the first TCR Europe free practice session at Circuit Paul Ricard in France, with the session being red-flagged in the final minute due to debris on track.

Filippi put his CUPRA on top of the times with around four minutes remaining to go quickest with a lap of 2 minutes 13.644 seconds, edging out Comtoyou Racing’s Tom Coronel, who had been quickest until that point with his effort of 2:13.907.

That left Audi driver Coronel two and a half tenths of a second adrift, with Halder Motorsport’s Jack Young in third being the fastest of the Honda drivers, 0.331 seconds off Filippi.

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“I think we made a big step between Portimão and now and we showed this in free practice 1one,” said Filippi. “For sure this was a better start to the weekend than at the last round.

“You have to remember that it’s a totally new car for me and for the team so there is a lot of space to improve to find the right set-up.

“It’s good for the confidence of me and the team but it’s far from over. We have another free practice, then qualifying and then two races to try to get maximum points and I’m sure everyone else will be working hard to improve.”

Championship leader Franco Girolami put his Comtoyou Audi in fourth, ahead of the top Hyundai of Janík Motorsport’s Mat’o Homola in fifth.

Italian Felice Jelmini was sixth fastest in the first of the Target Competition Hyundais, half a second off the pace.

Viktor Davidovski had been in the top four in the first half of the session, before the Macedonian driver slipped to seventh at the end, still within half a second of his fastest Comtoyou team-mate.

The top ten was completed by Spaniards Isidro Callejas and Pepe Oriola, in their CUPRA and Hondas respectively, and Russian Kilm Gavrilov in the second of the Volcano Motorsport CUPRAs.

Numerous track limit warnings were issued for infringements at Turns 2, 7, 8 and 10. Nicola Baldan (14th), Cellejas, Martin Ryba (16th) and Young all had lap times deleted for going too far during the session.

Second practice is scheduled to get underway at 17:30 CEST (16:30 BST).

Session results

POS NO NAT DRIVER ENTRANT CAR LAPS TIME GAP
1 27 John FILIPPI Sébastien Loeb Racing CUPRA Leon Competición TCR 10 2:13.644
2 33 Tom CORONEL Comtoyou Racing Audi RS3 LMS TCR 2021 12 2:13.907 0.263
3 62 Jack YOUNG Halder Motorsport Honda Civic Type-R FK7 TCR 10 2:13.975 0.331
4 72 Franco GIROLAMI Comtoyou Racing Audi RS3 LMS TCR 2021 10 2:14.023 0.379
5 70 Mat’o HOMOLA Janík Motorsport Hyundai Elantra N TCR 11 2:14.085 0.441
6 44 Felice JELMINI Target Competition Hyundai Elantra N TCR 10 2:14.169 0.525
7 110 Viktor DAVIDOVSKI Comtoyou Racing Audi RS3 LMS TCR 2021 10 2:14.266 0.622
8 26 Isidro CALLEJAS Volcano Motorsport CUPRA Leon Competición TCR 11 2:14.299 0.655
9 74 Pepe ORIOLA Brutal Fish Racing Team Honda Civic Type-R FK7 TCR 11 2:14.450 0.806
10 14 Klim GAVRILOV Volcano Motorsport CUPRA Leon Competición TCR 11 2:14.684 1.040
11 3 Giacomo GHERMANDI Lema Racing CUPRA Leon Competición TCR 10 2:15.030 1.386
12 16 Evgenii LEONOV Volcano Motorsport CUPRA Leon Competición TCR 11 2:15.118 1.474
13 81 Stéphane VENTAJA Team Clairet Sport CUPRA Leon Competición TCR 8 2:15.133 1.489
14 8 Nicola BALDAN Target Competition Hyundai Elantra N TCR 10 2:15.168 1.524
15 24 Jáchym GALÁŠ Janík Motorsport Hyundai Elantra N TCR 10 2:15.177 1.533
16 17 Martin RYBA Brutal Fish Racing Team Honda Civic Type-R FK7 TCR 12 2:15.362 1.718
17 7 Mike HALDER Halder Motorsport Honda Civic Type-R FK7 TCR 10 2:15.427 1.783
18 53 Michelle HALDER Halder Motorsport Honda Civic Type-R FK7 TCR 9 2:15.688 2.044
19 66 Gilles COLOMBANI Team Clairet Sport CUPRA TCR 8 2:16.462 2.818
20 99 Josh FILES Target Motorsport Hyundai Elantra N TCR 0 No time N/A
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