Mikel Azcona and his PCR Sport Cupra had a perfect start in their run to clinch the TCR Europe title. On his home racetrack, the young Spaniard set the fastest lap in the first Free Practice, the only driver capable to complete a lap of the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya under the 1:55 mark.
The session was briefly disrupted twice by the red flag. The first time when Josh Files went off at T4 after four minutes and then again, with 11 minutes left on the clock, when Francisco Abreu got stuck into a gravel trap.
Between the two red flags, Dušan Borkovic was an early leader in his Target Competition Hyundai i30 N with a provisional fastest lap of 1:55.631 that was soon bettered to 1:55.439 by newcomer Nathanaël Berthon in the Comtoyou Racing Audi RS3 LMS.
Azcona moved provisionally to second (1:55.633), but was demoted to third by the Leopard Lukoil Audi of Jean-Karl Vernay (1:55.576).
When the session resumed after the second suspension, Azcona set the fastest lap for good (1:54.931), while Ashley Sutton’s WestCoast Racing Volkswagen Golf GTI (1:55.518) and Attila Tassi’s Hell Energy Racing with KCMG’s Honda Civic (1:55.537) clombed to third and fourth respectively between Berthon and Vernay.
Borković was the best-palced Hyundai driver in sixth, with Stian Paulsen (1:55.642), Mike Halder (1:55.712), Andreas Bäckman (1:55.726) and Peter Terting (1:55.838) rounding off the top-ten.
The second free practice session is scheduled at 16:05.