2018 TCR Europe champion Mikel Azcona, driving a Volcano Motorsport CUPRA León Competición, set the fastest lap time in the first Free Practice session at the Slovakiaring, beating the Honda Civic Type-R of Franco Girolami and Tom Coronel in an Audi RS3 LMS.
It was the brand new Hyundai Elantra N of Italy’s Felice Jelmini that set the first competitive lap time, with the Sébastien Loeb Racing driver setting a benchmark of 2:17.256. One lap later his time was soundly beaten, first by his team-mates Mehdi Bennani (2:13.761) and Sami Taoufik (2:15.436) and then by the three Audi cars of Tom Coronel (2:11.451), Klim Gavrilov (2:11.756) and Nicolas Baert (2:12.381).
It was then Girolami’s time to top the timesheet in the Honda with a lap of 2:11.294 with the following lap seeing Mat’o Homola’s Hyundai i30 N move up to P5 with a time of 2:12.890 before Dániel Nagy (2:12.105) and Dušan Borkovič (2:11.822) both went faster.
Then, on lap 6, Azcona became the first driver to break the 2:11 barrier with a time of 2:10.985. The Spaniard’s time wasn’t beaten during the remainder of the session and so Azcona gained the psychological boost of setting the first fastest time of both the weekend and the 2021 season.
Mikel Azcona (fastest): “I’m very happy - this is the best way to start the season! We were here testing two weeks ago and so I think we have a very good set-up on the car. On my fastest lap I did two big slipstreams so that helped me a lot and I used 100% of the grip of the tyres, so it was a perfect lap. I’m very proud of the team and it’s clear that we worked hard during the winter. It’s only Free Practice, but it’s a very positive start. I’m sure the rest of the drivers will work really hard to beat me but we still have a big window to improve even more.”
Mikel Azcona (Volcano Motorsport, CUPRA León Competición) 2:10.985
Franco Girolami (PSS Racing Team, Honda Civic Type-R) 2:11.294
Tom Coronel (Comtoyou Racing, Audi RS3 LMS) 2:11.451
Klim Gavrilov (VRC-Team, Audi RS3 LMS) 2:11.756
Dušan Borkovič (Comtoyou Racing, Audi RS3 LMS) 2:11.822
Dániel Nagy (Zengo Motorsport, CUPRA León Competición) 2:12.105
Free Practice 2 is scheduled to start at 15.55 CET and will be streamed live on TCR TV and the series’ social media platforms.