WTCR Free Practice 1 flash: Five brands in top 10 as Urrutia sets pace in Lynk & Co
Santiago Urrutia jumped to the top of the times at the end of the first free practice session as WTCR Race of Portugal kicked into life at a baking Circuito do Estoril, as all five customer racing brands in the WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup were represented in the top 10.
The Uruguayan set a time of 1m44.876s in the final seconds of the 45-minute session, with track temperatures reaching 36 degrees. The Cyan Performance Lynk & Co ace, who competes in a Goodyear-equipped Lynk & Co 03 TCR, said: “It’s good to be on top but it’s not real, we don’t have the speed to be on top. Drivers were on different strategies. It is getting hotter and the track is dirty, so it will get better and better.”
Urrutia headed the ALL-INKL.DE Münnich Motorsport Honda Civic Type R TCRs of Attila Tassi, Esteban Guerrieri and Néstor Girolami, the latter heading the times for much of the session before the final flurry of improvements.
Goodyear #FollowTheLeader Jean-Karl Vernay was fifth fastest in his Engstler Hyundai N Liqui Moly Racing Team Hyundai Elantra N TCR, ahead of fellow WTCR Race of Germany race winner and Portuguese hero Tiago Monteiro and BRC Hyundai N LUKOIL Squadra Corse driver Norbert Michelisz.
Mikel Azcona’s Zengő Motorsport CUPRA Leon Competición, Yvan Muller’s Cyan Racing Lynk & C0 03 TCR and Frédéric Vervisch’s Comtoyou Team Audi Sport Audi RS 3 LMS completed the top 10 at the 4.182-kilometre circuit.
Thed Björk was out of luck when he was forced to stop his Lynk & Co out on the circuit after 17 minutes of the session. “We don’t usually see this, but we have an electrical problem with the car,” said the Swede. “It’s only FP1, but all laps are valuable here. I tested here in 2015 and this is a setback, but I know I can do it. Of course the team will fix it.”
Luca Engstler (Hyundai) was P11, ahead of Gabriele Tarquini (Hyundai), Nathanaël Berthon (Audi), King of WTCR Yann Ehrlacher (Lynk & Co) and Jordi Gené (CUPRA) as the 22 drivers dialled themselves into the Portuguese circuit.
Free Practice 2 at WTCR Race of Portugal is due to start at 12h05 local time.