Franco Girolami, driving a PSS Racing Team Honda Civic Type-R, set the fastest time in the second Free Practice session at the Circuit Paul Ricard at Le Castellet. Girolami saved his best performance until the very end, posting a time of 2:13.356 on his final lap of the thirty-minute session.
Up until that point, it looked as though it would be the Sébastien Loeb Racing Hyundai Elantra N of Niels Langeveld that would take the honours from FP2. The Dutch driver had been at the top of the timesheet since early in the session, when he set a lap time of 2:14.488 for the others to chase. Mat’o Homola in a Hyundai i30 N was P2 at that point, with a lap of 2:15.343, but the lap times tumbled as the session went on.
First Langeveld improved with a 2:13.818, then Jack Young (Brutal Fish Racing Honda Civic Type-R) went P2 with a 2:14.067. Girolami (2:14.140) was P3 at that point, but both were eclipsed by Jimmy Clairet’s Peugeot (2:13.873) and the Hyundai Elantra of Felice Jelmini (2:14.014). Reigning TCR Europe Champion Mehdi Bennani (2:13.883) then edged out his young teammate before the current points leader Mikel Azcona (Volcano Motorsport, CUPRA Leon Competición) went second fastest with 1 2:13.821 with around five minutes remaining.
As the clock ticked down, Sami Taoufik (2:13.805) went third fastest but it was that dramatic last flying lap from Girolami that left the Argentinian driver as the quickest in Free Practice 2. Despite improving his best lap slightly, Langeveld was 0.387 slower with Taoufik a further 0.062 back. Just as in FP1, several drivers received warnings for infringing track limits with the Comtoyou Racing Audi RS 3 LMS of Nicolas Baert having a lap time deleted for an infringement at Turn 2. In the final few minutes of the session, the Janik Motorsport Hyundai of Jáchym Galáš pulled off the track at Turn 6.
Franco Girolami (fastest): “I am very happy for the team, PSS, for JAS Motorsport and everyone in the family. It was a great result for all of us; the lap was ideal and I can’t wait for tomorrow. We put four new tyres on the car for the final lap for development for tomorrow and I’m really happy that our decision worked so well. Of course, we don’t know what the other drivers did with their tyres and so the real pace is going to be shown tomorrow in Qualifying and the race. This was only practice, so we will see tomorrow.”
1. Franco Girolami (PSS Racing Team, Honda Civic Type-R) 2:13.356
2. Niels Langeveld (Sébastien Loeb Racing, Hyundai Elantra N) 2:13.743
3.Sami Taoufik (Sébastien Loeb Racing, Hyundai Elantra N) 2:13.805
4. Mikel Azcona (Volcano Motorsport, CUPRA Leon Competición) 2:13.821
5. Jimmy Clairet (Team Clairet Sport, Peugeot 308) 2:13.873
Qualifying is scheduled to start at 10.00 CEST on Saturday with Race 1 at 16.45. Live timing is available via the TCR Portal tcr-series.tv and the race will be streamed live via the TCR Europe social media channels.