WTCR Free Practice 2 flash: Kristoffersson heads Michelisz
Johan Kristoffersson topped the second free practice session at WTCR Race of Portugal as six customer racing brands filled the top 10 on the streets of Vila Real.
The SLR Volkswagen driver set his leading time late in the session in his Golf GTI TCR, his mark of 2m00.110s proving faster than another late improver, BRC Hyundai N Squadra Corse’s Norbert Michelisz, by 0.357s.
“I really like this circuit,” said the double FIA World Rallycross champion and WTCR / OSCARO race winner Kristoffersson. “I put on fresh tyres for this session and it felt really nice. It’s a street circuit, but it’s also high-speed, and I really enjoy those bits. We were trying everything with the car before qualifying and we’ll take the best bits of what we learned to try to put all four VW Golfs as high as possible on the grid.”
Behind Kristoffersson and Michelisz were the Lynk & Cos of Yann Ehrlacher and Thed Björk, ahead of Rob Huff’s SLR VW Motorsport Golf. Comtoyou DHL Team CUPRA Racing’s Aurélien Panis was sixth, ahead of Mehdi Bennani, ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport’s #RoadToMalaysia points leader Esteban Guerrieri and BRC Hyundai N LUKOIL Racing Team’s Nicky Catsburg. Team Mulsanne’s Ma Qinghua completed the top 10 in his Alfa Romeo Giulietta TCR.
The 30-minute session was red flagged and interrupted briefly after 12 minutes when PWR Racing’s Mikel Azcona clashed with fellow CUPRA TCR driver Tom Coronel, the Comtoyou DHL Team CUPRA Racing entry suffering broken rear-right suspension in the impact. Coronel was then forced to abandon the smoking car out on the circuit.
“I was on my flying lap, Tom was slower,” said Azcona. “I tried to overtake and I thought Tom had seen my in his mirror, but when we turned in I had nothing to do. I am really sorry for Tom.”
Coronel said: “I didn’t see anybody or any blue flags. Azcona dived and I didn’t see he was there. He came out of nowhere. I knew I had a flat tyre, but then somehow the rubber started to burn, so I looked for a fire extinguisher point [to stop].”
Yvan Muller was another to suffer problems in the session, the Frenchman tagging a barrier and breaking a wheel on his Lynk & Co 03 TCR.
First Qualifying at WTCR Race of Portugal takes place from 11h00 local time. Watch the action live on Facebook by clicking here.