WTCR Free Practice 1 flash: Rookie Magnus heads Berthon
Gilles Magnus kicked off the inaugural WTCR Race of Spain by topping the times in the first free practice session at a sunny MotorLand Aragón.
The WTCR Rookie Driver award contender lapped the 5.345-kilometre track in 2m06.045s, his Comtoyou Racing Audi RS 3 LMS proving just 0.282s faster than team-mate Nathanaël Berthon, as six customer racing brands packed out the top 10.
“An early session, we started at 8am, so the track was slippery and dirty at first,” said Magnus. “We have tested here for two days, but the others will continue to get better over the weekend.”
Behind Berthon’s Comtoyou DHL Team Audi Sport entry, Santiago Urrutia was third fastest in his Cyan Performance Lynk & Co 03 TCR, ahead of Cyan Racing’s Yvan Muller and Gabriele Tarquini’s BRC Hyundai N LUKOIL Squadra Corse Hyundai i30 N TCR.
Goodyear #FollowTheLeader Yann Ehrlacher and Thed Björk were sixth and seventh fastest in their Lynk & Cos, ahead of Jean Karl-Vernay’s Team Mulsanne Alfa Romeo Giulietta Veloce TCR by Romeo Ferraris. Néstor Girolami was ninth in his ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport Honda Civic Type R TCR, with Aurélien Comte rounding out the top 10 in his Vuković Motorsport Renault Mégane RS TCR.
Esteban Guerrieri, second in the WTCR points, was P11 in his ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport Honda, ahead of local hero Mikel Azcona (Zengő Motorsport CUPRA Leon Competición).
Josh Files made a solid start to his first WTCR weekend, managing P14 at the wheel of an Engstler Hyundai N Liqui Moly Racing Team Hyundai. The British driver has stepped in for Nicky Catsburg, who has stood down from driving duties due to a positive PCR test result conducted ahead of the Spanish event.
Wildcard Nicolas Baert was in P21 after he was unable to set a competitive lap time in his Comtoyou Racing Audi as the 19-year-old takes his WTCR bow.
The 45-minute session was briefly red-flagged with 13 minutes to run when Tom Coronel stopped his Comtoyou DHL Team Audi Sport entry out on the circuit with a driveshaft issue.
Free Practice 2 at WTCR Race of Spain takes place at 10h35 local time.