Late effort hands Belgium’s Gilles Magnus Race 2 pole position at Motorsport Games

A superb final lap of the session gave Gilles Magnus pole position for the second Touring Car Cup race of the FIA Motorsport Games at Vallelunga, beating Russia’s Klim Gavrilov by nearly half a second.

Magnus, representing Team Belgium in his Audi RS 3 LMS, set a best time of 1:40.235 to beat Gavrilov’s previous best by 0.495 seconds.

The pair had traded fastest times in a disrupted session, which was red flagged after the Team Spain Peugeot 308TCR of Gonzalo De Andrés stopped on track, meaning he lost his best time of the session and will start towards the rear of the field as a result.

Up until that point, Magnus had been the quickest on a 1:41.848, making the most of much drier conditions than in the opening qualifying session earlier in the morning.

After the restart though, it was the Audi RS 3 LMS of Gavrilov that unlocked more pace in each of the three sectors to go quicker by just under two-tenths of a second. The Russian set the fastest first and third sectors to post a time of 1:41.024, which seemed to have been unbeatable until Magnus struck late on with his best effort.

Behind Gavrilov in third was the Team Netherlands Honda Civic Type R FK8 of Tom Coronel, some seven-tenths of a second behind.

Mat’o Homola was the best of the Hyundai i30 N TCRs in fourth, a further two-and-a-half tenths adrift, with New Zealand’s Faine Kahia fifth in an Audi RS 3 LMS.

Jessica Bäckman was sixth fastest in her i30 N TCR, having briefly held a top four place before a slight off at Turn 4 late in the session. John Filippi was seventh in his Team France Cupra TCR, albeit 1.4 seconds off the pace, ahead of the Hong Kong Honda Civic Type R TCR of Jim Ka To.

Rounding out the top ten was the Team Italy Audi entry of Enrico Bettera, who finished just ahead of the MG of the Team GB’s Rory Butcher.

Race 1 pole-sitter Luca Engstler did not take part in the session after suffering mechanical issues in the first qualifying session. The German was also forced to change his Hyundai i30 N TCR’s engine and faces a rush to make it out for the opening race of the weekend, where he will start from the back of the grid despite setting the pace in Q1.

Race 1 is scheduled for 13:15 local time.