Mikel Azcona dominates the Jarama Qualifying session
Mikel Azcona claimed pole position in the Qualifying of TCR Europe’s finale at Jarama. The young Spaniard dominate both part of the session, setting the fastest lap in both, Q1 and Q2. The Clairet’s brothers were the only ones who proved to have the pace to threaten Azcona’s supremacy and twice they were classified second and third.
As far as the title fight is concerned, Mehdi Bennani and Nicolas Baert qualifying in sixth and eighth positions, while the leader of the standings Mike Halder and the other contenders, John Filippi and Daniel Lloyd did not make the cut for Q2. Thus, Bennani and Baert ate 6 and 3 points respectively into Halder’s leading margin; they are now 20 and 38 points behind him, while Filippi is still in third place with a gap of 35.
In Q1, Azcona was the first driver to complete a lap in less than 1:38, setting a provisional fastest time of 1:37.888. The Clairet brothers were nearly able to match his pace as Teddy was clocked at 1:37.892 and Jimmy at 1:37.934. However, on his second attempt, Azcona improved to 1:37.851, while no one else had the pace to make the top three. Mat’o Homola (1:38.004), Jessica Bäckman (1:38.131), Baert (1:38.310), Dániel Nagy (1:38.368), Andreas Bäckman (1:38.389), Filippi (1:38.513), Julien Briché (1:38.574), Bennani (1:38.598) and Sami Taoufik (1:38.602) were all promoted to Q2, while none of the Honda drivers made the cut.
They all struggled with understeer and Franco Girolami was the best-placed of them in 13th position, with Pepe Oriola and Mike Halder in 14th and 15th positions. Daniel Lloyd was even further down in a 22nd position that doesn’t’ leave him many chances to fight for the title until the bitter end.
In Q2, Azcona settled the matter in his first attempt with a lap of 1:37.210 that was nearly seven tenths faster than anyone else’s; Teddy and Jimmy Clairet encored their Q1 results to keep second and third, while Homola moved into P4 with his second lap, demoting Bennani to fifth. Nagy and Jessica Bäckman qualified tenth and ninth, securing the front row of the reversed grid for Race 2.
Race 1 will start tomorrow at 11:20 local time (CET), live streaming at www.tcr-series.com.
1:37.210 – Mikel Azcona (Volcano Motorsport, CUPRA)
1:37.895 – Teddy Clairet (Team Clairet Sport, Peugeot 308)
1:37.918 – Jimmy Clairet (Team Clairet Sport, Peugeot 308)
1:37.986 – Mat’o Homola (BRC Racing Team, Hyundai i30 N)
1:38.016 – Mehdi Bennani (Comtoyou Racing, Audi RS 3 LMS)
1. Mike Halder 242 pts; 2. Mehdi Bennani 222; 3. John Filippi 207
TCR Euro Series
28a Hills Road
Cambridge CB2 1LA, United Kingdom