Gilles Magnus leads the way in opening Jeddah practice

Comtoyou Racing’s Gilles Magnus was the fastest driver in first practice on the short version of the Jeddah Corniche Circuit in Saudi Arabia, heading the times of the FIA World Touring Car Cup session by less than a tenth of a second.

Audi ace Magnus rose to the top of the times after just over half an hour of the 45-minute session, deposing team-mate Nathanaël Berthon with his lap time of 1 minute 17.024 seconds.

Then, just over two minutes before the chequered flag waved, Hyundai’s champion-elect Mikel Azcona went second, a mere 0.047 seconds slower than Magnus.

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Berthon was left to settle for the third fastest time, the Frenchman over two tenths adrift in his Audi.

Macedonian wildcard Viktor Davidovski ran in the top ten times for much of the session, before the Comtoyou Racing driver ultimately ended up in an impressive fourth overall, just under four tenths off the pace.

Attila Tassi was the top Honda driver for Team Engstler in fifth, ahead of Azcona’s only title rival, Münnich Motorsport’s Néstor Girolami in sixth.

Comtoyou’s Tom Coronel was seventh, just over half a second off the pace, ahead of the returning Rob Huff in eighth as the leading Zengő Motorsport CUPRA racer.

The top ten was completed by Hyundai’s Norbert Michelisz and Comtoyou’s Franco Girolami.

Three other drivers lapped within a second of the pace, with Hyundai’s Nicky Catsburg in 11th, Zengő’s Dániel Nagy in 12th and wildcard Saudi racer Ahmed Khaled bin Khanen in 13th.

Honda racers Tiago Monteiro and Esteban Guerrieri propped up the times in their Team Engstler and Münnich-run Civics respectively, the latter after completing just 14 laps – fewer than any other driver.

Second practice is scheduled to get underway at 12:30 GMT (15:30 local time, 13:30 CET) followed by qualifying at 15:30 GMT.

Session results

POS NO NAT DRIVER ENTRANT CAR LAPS TIME GAP
1 16 Gilles MAGNUS Comtoyou DHL Team Audi Sport Audi RS3 LMS TCR II 24 1:17.024
2 96 Mikel AZCONA BRC Hyundai N Squadra Corse Hyundai Elantra N TCR 23 1:17.071 0.047
3 17 Nathanaël BERTHON Comtoyou DHL Team Audi Sport Audi RS3 LMS TCR II 22 1:17.267 0.243
4 110 Viktor DAVIDOVSKI Comtoyou Racing Audi RS3 LMS TCR II 26 1:17.402 0.378
5 9 Attila TASSI Liqui Moly Team Engstler Honda Civic Type-R FK7 TCR 22 1:17.444 0.420
6 29 Néstor GIROLAMI ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport Honda Civic Type-R FK7 TCR 20 1:17.462 0.438
7 33 Tom CORONEL Comtoyou DHL Team Audi Sport Audi RS3 LMS TCR II 27 1:17.547 0.523
8 79 Rob HUFF Zengő Motorsport Services Kft CUPRA Leon Competición TCR 22 1:17.561 0.537
9 5 Norbert MICHELISZ BRC Hyundai N Squadra Corse Hyundai Elantra N TCR 26 1:17.598 0.574
10 72 Franco GIROLAMI Comtoyou Racing Audi RS3 LMS TCR II 24 1:17.716 0.692
11 88 Nicky CATSBURG BRC Hyundai N Racing Team Hyundai Elantra N TCR 24 1:17.742 0.718
12 99 Dániel NAGY Zengő Motorsport Services Kft CUPRA Leon Competición TCR 24 1:17.930 0.906
13 24 Ahmed Khaled BIN KHANEN Comtoyou Racing Audi RS3 LMS TCR II 27 1:18.015 0.991
14 18 Tiago MONTEIRO Liqui Moly Team Engstler Honda Civic Type-R FK7 TCR 27 1:18.119 1.095
15 86 Esteban GUERRIERI ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport Honda Civic Type-R FK7 TCR 14 1:18.224 1.200
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