After setting the fastest lap in this morning’s Practice 1, Julien Briché crashed in the afternoon, which caused the second session to be red-flagged with nine minutes left on the clock, and not resumed.
It was another Peugeot driver who emerged as the fastest, Jimmy Clairet who completed a lap of 2:31.026 proving that the 308 cars are extremely competitive at Spa.
The first one to post a provisional fastest lap of 1:31.779 was Gianni Morbidelli in the WestCoast Racing Volkswagen Golf GTI; the Italian was soon ousted from the top by Gilles Magnus whose Comtoyou Racing Audi RS 3 LMS was clocked at 2:31.113.
However, the Clairet brothers played a perfect slipstreaming game and crossed the line one after each other. Teddy (2:31.268) moved into second place and towed Jimmy to post the fastest lap of the session 2:31.026.
“This is very good for us in terms of our confidence because we have worked a lot on the car and we came to test here in the winter. It’s a good result but it will be far more important tomorrow, to be in the top twelve in Q1 and the top ten in Q2. Today has been very good for Peugeot; the car is good and the BoP seems to be quite good for us here. We now have to give our maximum this weekend to get a good result,” Jimmy Clairet commented.
Later on, Stian Paulsen’s lap of 2:31.052 provisionally placed the Norwegian in second position, but he was then demoted to third by Josh Files’ 2:31.032 that was only six thousandths of a second slower than Jimmy Clairet’s best time.
This made four different models – Peugeot, Hyundai, CUPRA and Audi – covered by less than nine hundredths of a second on top of the time sheet. The fastest of the Honda and VW cars were Daniel Lloyd’s Civic (2:31.537) and Morbidelli’s Golf (2:31.729) in sixth and seventh position respectively.
Nelson Panciatici, Aurélien Comte and Luca Engstler completed the top ten, while Ashley Sutton was the best of the newcomers in 11th position, with Gavrilov and Kent further down the order (27th and 30th respectively).
The red flag prevented many drivers from improving their lap times, including Támas Tenke who was in the pit for changing the tyres and solve an understeering issue when the session was stopped.
Briché’s car suffered from extensive damage to the front and the side; the team is confident it may be repaired, though this will require a lot of work.
Action will resume tomorrow morning at 9:30 local time, with the Qualifying session.
1. 2:31.026 – Jimmy Clairet (Team Clairet Sport, Peugeot 308)
2. 2:31.032 – Josh Files (Target Competition, Hyundai i30 N)
3. 2:31.052 – Stian Paulsen (Stian Paulsen Racing, CUPRA)
4. 2:31.113 – Gilles Magnus (Comtoyou Racing, Audi RS 3 LMS)
5. 2:31.268– Teddy Clairet (Team Clairet Sport, Peugeot 308)