Jack Young, driving a Brutal Fish Racing Honda Civic Type-R, claimed his maiden TCR Europe pole position in a dramatic finale to the two-stage Qualifying session at Zandvoort. The 19-year old will have the Audi RS 3 LMS of Tom Coronel alongside him on the front row of the grid for this afternoon’s Race 1, with Coronel’s two Comtoyou Racing teammates Dušan Borkovič and Nicolas Baert on Row 2. Sami Taoufik will start on pole for tomorrow’s Race 2.
In Qualifying 1, it was the two Sébastien Loeb Racing Hyundai Elantra N cars of Felice Jelmini and Taoufik that were the first to set competitive lap times, although one lap later they were beaten in quick succession by Mehdi Bennani (1:45.427), Coronel (1:45.926) and, in a taste of what was to come, Young (1:44.582). Teddy Clairet (1:45.573) and Borkovič (1:45.215) were also among the top five at that point. Franco Girolami then went fastest with a lap time of 1:44.531 with the Spanish teenager Isidro Callejas breaking into the top five with a 1:45.265.
Klim Gavrilov survived a scare when his Audi ran wide through the gravel at Turn 8 and the Russian driver headed to the pits to get the gravel removed. He would, though, recover to get into the top twelve to go through to Q2. Nicolas Baert, meanwhile, would end the session in P5 with a time of 1:44.785, with the two local drivers Niels Langeveld (P4) and Tom Coronel (P2) setting best laps of 1:44.595 and 1:44.436 respectively. Sandwiched between the two was Girolami but it was Young who set the fastest time of 1:44.166. Behind those five, the other drivers who went through to Q2 were Borkovič, Gavrilov, Callejas, Jelmini, Bennani, Taoufik and Jimmy Clairet.
In Q2, Taoufik was again one of the first to set a quick lap time but Young set a stunning time on his first flying lap (1:43.763) for the others to try to beat. Coronel also beat the 1:44 mark twice, first with a lap of 1:43.967 and then 1:43.895 but neither was enough to topple Young from P1. Behind the pair, Borkovič was third fastest with a 1:44.644 and Baert fourth with a 1:44.652.
As the session drew to a close, both Coronel and Young were clearly on quick laps. Moments after the chequered flag was shown, Coronel stopped the clock on 1:43.749 and so it looked as though he’d snatched pole position from Young. Seconds later, the British teenager struck back with an even quicker lap time of 1:43.668 and so took his first TCR Europe pole position with a margin of just 0.081. Taoufik was tenth fastest and so will start Race 2 from pole with his teammate Langeveld alongside him on the front row.
1. Jack Young (Brutal Fish Racing, Honda Civic Type-R) 1:43.668
2. Tom Coronel (Comtoyou Racing, Audi RS 3 LMS) 1:43.749
3. Dušan Borkovič (Comtoyou Racing, Audi RS 3 LMS) 1:44.644
4. Nicolas Baert (Comtoyou Racing, Audi RS 3 LMS) 1:44.652
5. Mehdi Bennani (Sébastien Loeb Racing, Hyundai Elantra N) 1:44.681
1. Azcona 143 pts; 2. Bennani 98 pts; 3. Coronel 92 pts; 4. J. Clairet 90 pts; 5. Girolami 90 pts
Race 1 is scheduled to start at 17.20 CEST and will be streamed live on TCR TV and the series’ social media platforms.