Viktor Andersson and Tom Coronel set the fastest times in the two Free Practice sessions at the Circuit de Barcelona Catalunya ahead of the weekend’s final two races in the 2023 TCR Europe championship. Kobe Pauwels was the most consistent of the trio fighting for the Drivers’title, finishing second fastest in FP1 and third in FP2, although all three finished inside the top five in both sessions.
FP1: The early pace on the first flying lap was set by Nicola Baldan, Ruben Volt and Daniel Tkachenko ahead of two of the contenders for the Drivers’ Championship title, Kobe Pauwels and Tom Coronel, with Volt going P1 on his next lap with a time of 1:55.007 before TCR Europe returnee Pepe Oriola went fastest with a 1:53.892 and his RC2 Racing teammate Rubén Fernández went P3 (1:54.572). Lap times then tumbled, with Pauwels going quickest (1:50.950) ahead of Coronel (1:51.014) before Pauwels improved with a time of 1:50.218 and Viktor Andersson went P2 (1:50.560) and John Filippi – the third contender for the Drivers’ title – went P4 with a time of 1:51.382. In the second half of the thirty-minute session, Coronel improved his best time with a 1:50.971 before Andersson set the session’s quickest lap of 1:50.182. Filippi went third fastest with a 1:50.697 and Lewis Brown went P5 (1:51.251). Inside the final six minutes, Fernández went P5 with a 1:51.123 before Baldan went P4 (1:50.830). Baldan then improved on his next lap with a 1:50.598 to go third fastest ahead of Filippi and Coronel. With no more improvements, Andersson ended the session in P1, 0.036 ahead of Pauwels.
FP2: Once again it was Baldan and Volt who set the quickest times on the first competitive lap, with Baldan improving his times on both the next two laps. Filippi then went fastest with Oriola in P3 before Pauwels went second quickest ahead of Brown. As the session headed towards its halfway point, Brown improved to go P2 with a lap of 1:50.563 before Andersson went P4 (1:51.277). Daniel Tkachenko then went P3 ahead of Pauwels (1:50.765) with Coronel only seventh at that point with a best lap of 1:51.505. With around ten minutes remaining, Levente Losonczy went P5 (1:51.255) then improved to P4 on his next lap (1:50.924). With a little over seven minutes left on the clock, Pauwels briefly went P1 (1:49.997) before Andersson hit back by going 0.001 quicker. Pauwels then headed into the pits and so it seemed that Andersson would once again finish on top, with Baldan going P4 (1:50.443) and Volt P5 (1:50.519) before Brown went P3 (1:50.091) with just over three minutes remaining. Then, after languishing in the lower half of the order for most of the session, Coronel went fastest with a 1:49.959 inside the final minute of the session. With Filippi taking P5 (1:50.234) on his last lap, that was how things finished.
Viktor Andersson (fastest in FP1): “It was good. It was so early that it wasn’t that light outside, but it was a good session! It felt great out there and it was pretty close between some of my other competitors, so I think it’s going to be a tough weekend. I really hope to deliver a good result this weekend – we’ve had good pace and we’ve had two pole positions this season, but we’ll try to get a third pole position tomorrow and hopefully a podium.”
Tom Coronel (fastest in FP2): “That went quite well, although I had a lot of difficulties in the first session, so in the second session I was trying to be clever and be in the correct spots in the exits of the corners. I outbraked myself twice in the first corner so perhaps I should behave myself a little more! Overall, if you know that you’re P1 in FP2 then at least you know you have a good car for Qualifying. But there’s still time to find; I can find another two-tenths I think, so I feel quite confident, but it’s going to be a close one, that’s for sure!”
Results – Free Practice 1
1. Viktor Andersson (MA:GP, Lynk & Co 03) 1:50.182
2. Kobe Pauwels (Comtoyou Racing, Audi RS 3 LMS) 1:50.218
3. Nicola Baldan (Comtoyou, Audi RS 3 LMS) 1:50.598
4. John Filippi (Comtoyou, Audi RS 3 LMS) 1:50.697
5. Tom Coronel (Comtoyou Racing, Audi RS 3 LMS) 1:50.971
Free Practice 2
1. Tom Coronel (Comtoyou Racing, Audi RS 3 LMS) 1:49.959
2. Viktor Andersson (MA:GP, Lynk & Co 03) 1:49.996
3. Kobe Pauwels (Comtoyou Racing, Audi RS 3 LMS) 1:49.997
4. Lewis Brown (Comtoyou Racing, Audi RS 3 LMS 1:50.091
5. John Filippi (Comtoyou, Audi RS 3 LMS) 1:50.234
Qualifying is scheduled to start at 11.30 CEST tomorrow and Race 1 at 17.55. Race 2 is then scheduled for 12.20 on Sunday. Both races will be streamed live on tcr-series.tv and the TCR TV app together with the TCR Europe social media channels.