The two-stage Qualifying session at the Circuit de Barcelona Catalunya saw Drivers’ Championship leader Tom Coronel come out on top of the timesheet, with his Comtoyou Racing teammate and closest rival for the title Kobe Pauwels in second place and the only other driver still in contention for the trophy, John Filippi, in third. The result means Coronel has extended his lead to thirteen points over Pauwels and thirty over Filippi, with a total of eighty points on offer from the final two races of the TCR Europe season.
In Q1, the Audi RS 3 LMS cars of the three Drivers’ Championship contenders were the first to head out of the pit lane, with all three heading back into the pits after an initial lap. As a result, it was the ALM Motorsport Honda of Ruben Volt which set the first competitive lap time (1:51.552) with nobody else breaking the two-minute barrier on their first flying laps. Volt then improved on his next lap but Coronel, Pauwels, Levente Losonczy and Viktor Andersson then all went quicker than the Estonian driver.
Heading for the halfway point of the twenty-minute session, Coronel and Pauwels improved their lap times with Lewis Brown, Nicola Baldan and Viktor Davidovski completing an all-Comtoyou top five. Filippi was down in P9 at this point, over 1.7 seconds down on Coronel, while nearly all of the top ten headed into the pits for fresh tyres. With less than four minutes of the session remaining, Andersson went P5 (1:49.708) before Pauwels set the quickest time (1:48.820) and Filippi leapt to P4 ahead of Brown with a lap of 1:49.425. With only thirteen cars on the entry list, Mauro Guastamacchia was the unlucky driver not to make it through to Q2.
The first flying lap of the ten-minute second stage of Qualifying was always going to be crucial. Sure enough, Coronel was quickest (1:48.968) ahead of Pauwels (1:49.162) and Filippi (1:49.311). Lewis Brown was fourth fastest with a lap of 1:49.398 ahead of Nicola Baldan in P5 (1:49.970). Despite Andersson moving up into P5 ahead of Baldan in the closing moments of the session with a 1:49.529, there were no improvements in position among the Championship contenders after that opening lap and so Coronel and Pauwels will start alongside each other on the front row for Race 1 while the reversed-grid Race 2 will see Ruben Volt on pole position.
Race 1 is scheduled to start at 17.55 CEST this evening with Race 2 at 12.20 tomorrow. Both races will be streamed live on tcr-series.tv and the TCR TV app, plus the TCR TV YouTube channel.
1. Tom Coronel (Comtoyou Racing, Audi RS 3 LMS) 1:48.968
2. Kobe Pauwels (Comtoyou Racing, Audi RS 3 LMS) 1:49.162
3. John Filippi (Comtoyou, Audi RS 3 LMS) 1:49.311
4. Lewis Brown (Comtoyou Racing, Audi RS 3 LMS) 1:49.398
5. Viktor Andersson (MA:GP, Lynk & Co 03) 1:49.529
TCR Europe Championship points
1. Tom Coronel 406pts; 2. Kobe Pauwels 393pts; 3. John Filippi 376pts; 4. Viktor Davidovski 244pts; 5. Lewis Brown 217pts.