Pauwels fastest in Free Practice 1 at Pau

Pauwels fastest in Free Practice 1 at Pau

Kobe Pauwels, driving a Comtoyou Racing Audi RS 3 LMS, set the fastest time in Free Practice 1 around the streets of the Circuit de Pau Ville, with the Target Competition Hyundai Elantra N of Dušan Borković second quickest and Pauwels’ teammate Tom Coronel third. The session was delayed by over two hours thanks to the event timetable running late with FP1 then seeing changeable weather conditions thanks to a period of heavy rain in the ten minutes or so before the start. 


The first competitive lap time was set by Kobe Pauwels, who clocked a 1:42.425. That time was swiftly beaten on the next lap by Viktor Davidovski (1:39.228) and then Dušan Borković (1:39.168) before first Pauwels (1:37.919) and then Borković (1:36.937) improved their times on their third flying laps to take turns at going P1. Davidovksi also improved with a lap of 1:37.498 and was P3 ahead of the MA:GP Lynk & Co 03 of Viktor Andersson (1:40.658) and his Comtoyou teammate John Filippi (1:41.006). Tom Coronel then went fastest with a lap of 1:36.120, ahead of another improvement by Borković (1:36.591) and Pauwels (1:37.042).


Despite thunder rumbling ominously across the valley, the rain had stopped and the track was drying out which meant more improvements in lap times. With a little over half the thirty-minute session remaining, Pauwels went P2 with a 1:36.331 and Pau Touring Car legend Eric Cayrolle went P5 ahead of Andersson with a 1:38.943.


With just under thirteen minutes left, Davidovski set a time of 1:35.506 to go P1 ahead of Coronel and Pauwels, with Cayrolle setting a 1:36.419 to improve to P4. Julien Nougaret, another French entrant at his home event, was briefly sixth fastest with a best lap of 1:38.833 before Borković improved his best time with a 1:35.792 and pushed Nougaret down a place. Coronel (1:34.663) and Pauwels (1:34.368) then improved their best times to each go P1 before the Hyundai Elantra N of Borković split the two Audi cars with a lap of 1:34.564.


Into the last five minutes of the session, Davidovski had improved again and had edged past Cayrolle into P4 (1:35.402). Nougaret had also improved his best lap with a 1:37.671 to leave him in P8 behind Andersson and Filippi. The top ten times were rounded off by the two Volcano Motorsport Audi cars of Isaac Smith and Lewis Brown, with lap times of 1:38.126 and 1:41.208 respectively.


The sun finally emerged just as the chequered flag fell, but there were no more improvements. Kobe Pauwels therefore topped the timesheet for the second time from the three Free Practice sessions held so far this season after going quickest in FP2 in Portimão two weeks ago. Borković was second and Coronel third.


Kobe Pauwels (fastest): “In Portimão, I was fastest in Free Practice 2, so I would like to make this a habit! Before the session it started to rain and so we didn’t really know what set-up to put on it. I’m not completely sure but I think we went for something in between and it worked really well. I have seven or eight years of experience in Karting and that helped me in those conditions. I watched the onboards of Pau which the team sent me before the weekend and so I have to say I was on the cautious side. But I really like it around here; it’s a little bit bumpy, maybe like rallycross and so that’s why I like it. Also street circuits don’t have so much rubber down and so the tyres work really well. It all just fell into place.”


Top positions

1. Kobe Pauwels (Comtoyou Racing, Audi RS 3 LMS)  1:34.368

2. Dušan Borković (Target Competition, Hyundai Elantra N)  1:34.564

3. Tom Coronel (Comtoyou Racing, Audi RS 3 LMS)  1:34.663

4. Viktor Davidovski (Comtoyou, Audi RS 3 LMS)  1:35.402

5. Eric Cayrolle (Comtoyou Racing, Audi RS 3 LMS)  1:36.419


Free Practice 2 - also delayed - is scheduled for 17.57 this afternoon. Qualifying and Race 1 take place tomorrow with Race 2 on Sunday. Both races will be streamed live on and the TCR TV app.


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