Julien Briché puts Peugeot on top in Monza FP2
JSB Compétition’s Julien Briché topped the times in the second TCR Europe Series practice session at Monza, producing a late flyer to beat FP1 pace-setter Mehdi Bennani by over half a second.
The Peugeot driver was a lowly 15th in the rain-affected first practice but made the most of better conditions in the afternoon to emerge as the quickest driver in the 30-minute session.
Bennani was second, having headed the field for much of the session, some six-tenths of a second in arrears of Briché.
Jimmy Clairet was third in another Peugeot 308TCR, albeit nearly a second off the pace of Briché.
Brutal Fish Racing’s Pepe Oriola was the first driver to set a representative lap-time in his Honda Civic Type-R, posting a 1:59.66, some nine-tenths of a second quicker than Bennani’s first effort.
Mat’o Homola was next to top the times in his BRC Racing Hyundai i30 N TCRe, going just one-hundredth of a second faster than Oriola.
Having topped a damp morning session in his Comtoyou Racing Audi RS 3 LMS, Bennani was again quick to show his car’s pace advantage on the high-speed Monza circuit in the second session.
The Moroccan was seemingly the man to beat after setting a best time of 1:58.377, which was just over three-tenths quicker than Clairet’s Team Clairet Sport Peugeot.
Briché then got to within just eight-hundredths off Bennani with a fantastic effort, before setting his quickest time with just under five minutes remaining.
Bennani’s Comtoyou team-mate Sami Taoufik ended up fourth fastest in his Audi RS 3 LMS, while the best of the Target Competition Hyundai i30 N TCRs was Jessica Bäckman in fifth.
Homola finished sixth fastest, 1.037s off the pace of Briché, while early pace-setter Oriola was seventh.
John Filippi was eighth for Target Competition, ahead of TCR Europe Series newcomer Felice Jelmini.
Jelmini, a race winner this season in TCR Italy, had topped the times early in the session in his PMA Motorsport run Hyundai i30 N TCR but faded to ninth by the flag.
Teddy Clairet rounded out the top 10 in his Peugeot, ahead of title contenders Dáni Nagy (BRC Racing) and Mike Halder (Profi Car Team Halder).
Points leader Dan Lloyd had another difficult session in his Brutal Fish Racing Honda Civic Type-R, finishing 15th fastest and 1.999s off the pace.
Next up is qualifying, which is scheduled to take place tomorrow at 10:55 CEST.