Ehrlacher and Pauwels fastest in Spa Qualifying

Ehrlacher and Pauwels fastest in Spa Qualifying

Yann Ehrlacher, driving a Cyan Racing Lynk & Co 03, set the fastest time in the two-stage Qualifying session at Spa-Francorchamps, beating his teammate Ma Qing Hua by just over three-tenths of a second. Another KUMHO TCR World Tour driver, Néstor Girolami in an ALM Motorsport Honda Civic Type R FL5, was third fastest while the best of the TCR Europe contenders was Kobe Pauwels in a Comtoyou Racing Audi RS 3 LMS who was fourth overall.


In Q1, the first driver to set a competitive time was Tom Coronel with a lap of 2:30.028, ahead of Yann Ehrlacher (2:30.154), Thed Björk (2:30.444) and John Filippi (2:30.694). Filippi improved on his next lap with a 2:30.606, but both Santiago Urrutia (2:30.259) and Ma Qing Hua (2:30.484) went faster than the French driver, although Ma’s lap would be deleted for infringing track limits. The Chinese driver was one of a number of competitors to be penalised for the same offence.


After fitting fresh tyres around halfway through the twenty-minute session, most drivers had enough time for two more flying laps. Norbert Michelisz and his teammate Mikel Azcona worked together to give each other an aerodynamic tow around the long Spa lap, with Azcona moving up to P9 with a 2:31.071 while Michelisz was in P11 with a best lap of 2:31.411. Filippi, meanwhile, had gone fastest with a lap of 2:29.985.


Going through to the second stage of Qualifying were Filippi, Coronel, Ehrlacher, Ma Qing Hua, Urrutia, Björk, Néstor Girolami, Kobe Pauwels, Azcona, Rob Huff, Michelisz and Felipe Fernández.


In the second stage of Qualifying, the ten-minute session saw Pauwels set the first competitive lap time with a 2:30.612. The short session was always going to be frantic, but most of the twelve drivers elected to wait until half the session had elapsed before heading out of the pits. That effectively meant they would have one lap to set a time, two at the most.


Coronel looked to be on course to go fastest on his first flying lap, but he encountered traffic through the last few corners and so crossed the line in P2 behind Pauwels with a time of 2:31.327. Coronel then improved slightly on his next lap, but he made contact with Azcona’s Hyundai at Les Combes, which put paid to any chance the Dutch driver had of grabbing P1. With less than a minute left on the clock, Ehrlacher went fastest with a 2:29.470 and Girolami went P2 with a 2:29.977. Rob Huff was P4 ahead of Coronel (2:30.865) before Ma Qing Hua went P2 behind his teammate Ehrlacher with a 2:29.785 just after the chequered flag signalled the end of the session. Afterwards, the Stewards gave Azcona a three-place grid penalty for Race 1 as a result of the incident with Coronel.


The grid for Race 1 will therefore have two Cyan Racing Lynk & Co 03 cars on the front row, with Girolami and Pauwels on Row 2. John Filippi set the tenth fastest time of 2:32.515 and so will start the reversed-grid race 2 from pole with Felipe Fernández alongside him, making it an all-Audi front row.


Race 1 is scheduled to start at 15.30 CEST this afternoon with Race 2 at 11.40 tomorrow morning. Both races will be streamed live on and the TCR TV app, plus the TCR TV YouTube channel.


Qualifying - overall

1. Yann Ehrlacher (Cyan Racing Lynk & Co, Lynk & Co 03)  2:29.470

2. Ma Qing Hua (Cyan Racing Lynk & Co, Lynk & Co 03)  2:29.785

3. Néstor Girolami (ALM Motorsport, Honda Civic Type R FL5)  2:29.977


Qualifying – TCR Europe

1. Kobe Pauwels (Comtoyou Racing, Audi RS 3 LMS)  2:30.612

2. Tom Coronel (Comtoyou Racing, Audi RS 3 LMS)  2:31.015

3. Felipe Fernández (RC2 Racing Team, Audi RS 3 LMS)  2:32.361


TCR Europe Championship points

1. Tom Coronel 148pts; 2. John Filippi 132pts; 3. Kobe Pauwels 119pts; 4. Dušan Borković 114pts; 5. Viktor Davidovski 86pts.


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