John Filippi led a Comtoyou Racing 1-2-3-4 in qualifying for TCR Europe at Circuit Paul Ricard, with the Frenchman going just under two tenths of a second faster than team-mate and points leader Tom Coronel.
Kobe Pauwels, who had set the pace in practice, went to the top of the times in Q1 early on, posting a lap of 2 minutes 12.975 seconds, to edge ALM Motorsport’s Ruben Volt by almost half a second.
With only 12 cars progressing into Q2, it was ultimately Volcano Motorsport’s Daniel Tkachenko and SP Compétition’s Sacha Bottemanne who failed to go fast enough to continue, posting the 13th and 14th best times respectively, the only drivers over two seconds off the pace.
In Q2, the fastest trio ended up being the last to leave the pits, and so their Comtoyou team-mate Nicola Baldan held the top time for much of the session with a lap of 2:12.900.
When the late Comtoyou trio posted their times, it was Filippi who was fastest with his 2:12.408 effort, giving the Corsican racer a ‘home’ pole – something he also achieved at the circuit in 2020 – and his first pole in the series since Monza last year.
“It was a pretty good session; we improved a lot between Q1 and Q2,” said Filippi. “I prefer to be the best in Q1 to have a new tyre, to feel what the peak of the tyres and car behaviour are like.
“The balance was quite good. After, I knew the lap time of Q1, I had the target and did it – my lap time was good, but not perfect and I’m happy it was good enough to be pole position.
“Honestly, I expect a very difficult race, especially with my teammates, and the long run pace here is very, very hard for us so we don’t know.
“Pole position is something done, but I have to go for something more in the race.”
Coronel will line-up alongside his championship rival on the front row of the grid, with Pauwels ending up in third, a further tenth back.
Baldan ultimately had to settle for the fourth fastest time, ensuring an Audi top four lockout at the circuit near Le Castellet.
One-off entrant Aurélien Comte put his SP Compétition CUPRA in fifth as the ‘best of the rest’, almost a second off the pace.
Volcano Motorsport’s Lewis Brown was sixth, ahead of the new-generation Honda of Volt in seventh, the Estonian racer being the only other driver within a second of the Q2 pace.
Comtoyou’s Viktor Davidovski, MA:GP’s Viktor Andersson and Aggressive Team Italia’s Levente Losonczy completed the top ten, giving the latter the reverse-grid pole for Sunday’s second race.
That meant that Target Competition duo Dušan Borković and Marco Butti missed out on the reverse grid and will start from 11th and 12th respectively for both races – Borković being just 0.013 seconds slower than Losonczy in the same Hyundai machinery. Butti failed to post a time at all due to a steering rack issue.
Race one is scheduled to get underway at 19:05 CEST on Saturday (18:05 BST) and will be streamed live on the series’ YouTube channel.
|1||27||John FILIPPI||Comtoyou Racing||Audi RS3 LMS TCR II||2||2:12.408||–|
|2||34||Tom CORONEL||Comtoyou Racing||Audi RS3 LMS TCR II||2||2:12.594||0.186|
|3||22||Kobe PAUWELS||Comtoyou Racing||Audi RS3 LMS TCR II||2||2:12.704||0.296|
|4||8||Nicola BALDAN||Comtoyou Racing||Audi RS3 LMS TCR II||2||2:12.900||0.492|
|5||76||Aurélien COMTE||SP Compétition||CUPRA Leon Competición TCR||2||2:13.375||0.967|
|6||39||Lewis BROWN||Volcano Motorsport||Audi RS3 LMS TCR II||2||2:13.382||0.974|
|7||127||Ruben VOLT||ALM Motorsport||Honda Civic Type-R FL5 TCR||2||2:13.405||0.997|
|8||11||Viktor DAVIDOVSKI||Comtoyou Racing||Audi RS3 LMS TCR II||2||2:13.417||1.009|
|9||10||Viktor ANDERSSON||MA:GP||Lynk & Co 03 TCR||2||2:14.482||2.074|
|10||264||Levente LOSONCZY||Aggressive Team Italia||Hyundai Elantra N TCR||2||2:14.579||2.171|
|11||62||Dušan BORKOVIĆ||Target Competition||Hyundai Elantra N TCR||3||2:14.592||2.184|
|12||18||Marco BUTTI||Target Competition||Hyundai Elantra N TCR||0||No time||N/A|
|1||22||Kobe PAUWELS||Comtoyou Racing||Audi RS3 LMS TCR II||8||2:12.975||–|
|2||127||Ruben VOLT||ALM Motorsport||Honda Civic Type-R FL5 TCR||6||2:13.459||0.484|
|3||76||Aurélien COMTE||SP Compétition||CUPRA Leon Competición TCR||7||2:13.504||0.529|
|4||27||John FILIPPI||Comtoyou Racing||Audi RS3 LMS TCR II||5||2:13.523||0.548|
|5||34||Tom CORONEL||Comtoyou Racing||Audi RS3 LMS TCR II||8||2:13.538||0.563|
|6||8||Nicola BALDAN||Comtoyou Racing||Audi RS3 LMS TCR II||8||2:13.593||0.618|
|7||39||Lewis BROWN||Volcano Motorsport||Audi RS3 LMS TCR II||8||2:13.656||0.681|
|8||11||Viktor DAVIDOVSKI||Comtoyou Racing||Audi RS3 LMS TCR II||8||2:13.664||0.689|
|9||18||Marco BUTTI||Target Competition||Hyundai Elantra N TCR||6||2:14.121||1.146|
|10||62||Dušan BORKOVIĆ||Target Competition||Hyundai Elantra N TCR||6||2:14.159||1.184|
|11||10||Viktor ANDERSSON||MA:GP||Lynk & Co 03 TCR||7||2:14.165||1.190|
|12||264||Levente LOSONCZY||Aggressive Team Italia||Hyundai Elantra N TCR||7||2:14.646||1.671|
|13||7||Daniel TKACHENKO||Volcano Motorsport||Audi RS3 LMS TCR II||8||2:15.184||2.209|
|14||78||Sacha BOTTEMANNE||SP Compétition||CUPRA Leon Competición TCR||8||2:15.272||2.297|