In a complete change compared to the first Free Practice session, FP2 at the Autódromo Internacional do Algarve saw Josh Files set the fastest lap time in a Target Competition Hyundai Elantra N. Second fastest was Klim Gavrilov in a Volcano Motorsport CUPRA Leon Competición, while the similar Sébastien Loeb Racing - Bardahl Team car of John Filippi snatched P3 just as the chequered flag fell.
After going quickest in FP1, it was Mat’o Homola who set the first competitive lap time when he recorded a 1:53.070, ahead of Mike and Michelle Halder with laps of 1:53.735 and 1:54.145 respectively. On the next lap, however, Files went P1 with a 1:52.907 before the two HYUNDAI | Janík Motorsport Elantra cars of Homola (1:52.698) and Jáchym Galáš (1:52.700) set the two fastest lap times, just two-thousandths apart. Isidro Callejas (Volcano Motorsport, CUPRA Leon Competición) then went third fastest with a 1:52.820.
Gavrilov then set his best lap of the session (1:52.289) to briefly go P1 ahead of Callejas while Franco Girolami went fifth quickest with a 1:52.787. Then, with just under thirteen minutes of the session remaining, Files posted a time of 1:52.047 which wouldn’t be beaten. Pepe Oriola (Brutal Fish Racing, Honda Civic Type R) went P4, which kept him ahead of Girolami despite the Argentinian driver improving with a 1:52.599. Portuguese driver Luís Cidade then went P6 (1:52.629) in the Élite Motorsport with Comtoyou Racing Audi RS 3 LMS TCR.
In the final minute of the half-hour session, Tom Coronel (Comtoyou Racing Audi RS 3 LMS TCR) looked to be on course to improve his position, but had to settle for P10 after a poor final sector saw him record a 1:52.756. Then, literally as the chequered flag fell, John Filippi crossed the line to set a 1:52.357 which meant he ended the session in third position behind Files and Gavrilov.
Josh Files (fastest): “We came up with a strategy yesterday on how to use our tyres, because we’re obviously limited at the first weekend, so we sacrificed FP1 just to test the car. We made a small change based on the track grip coming up from the DTM cars and it made a massive difference. Basically, when we put the tyres in the correct position, the car is moving, the car is dancing, which is how I like it so I think we’re in a good place. But, as my engineer says – ‘when the flag drops, the **** stops’ and tomorrow is that day! Fortunately we know where everyone is on tyres today because everyone has to take new tyres. As a result, they’re probably the most meaningful Free Practices we have all season and it all looks good. We just have to keep chipping away bit by bit.”
1. Josh Files (Target Competition, Hyundai Elantra N) 1:52.047
2. Klim Gavrilov (Volcano Motorsport, CUPRA Leon Competición) 1:52.289
3. John Filippi (Sébastien Loeb Racing - Bardahl Team, CUPRA Leon Competición) 1:52.357
4. Isidro Callejas (Volcano Motorsport, CUPRA Leon Competición) 1:52.527
5. Pepe Oriola (PSS Racing Team, Honda Civic Type-R) 1:52.564
6. Franco Girolami (Comtoyou Racing, Audi RS 3 LMS TCR) 1:52.599
Qualifying is scheduled to start at 09.35 local time (10.35CEST) tomorrow, with Race 1 at 15.15. Both will be streamed live via the TCR Europe website (europe.tcr-series.com) and the series’ social media channels.