Photo: TCR Europe

Franco Girolami emerges as the fastest in Paul Ricard FP2 following late effort

PSS Racing’s Franco Girolami topped the second TCR Europe free practice session of the weekend at Paul Ricard, beating Niels Langeveld by just over three-tenths of a second.

Girolami posted a time of 2:13. 356, but this late effort meant that the margin was not fully representative, with the top four having been split by a mere tenth-and-a-half until the final seconds.

Behind Langeveld came his SLR team-mate Sami Taoufik, who improved on his 13th place in FP1 to put himself firmly in the hunt come Saturday’s qualifying session.

Points leader and 2018 champion Mikel Azcona took his Volcano Motorsport Cupra León Competición to the fourth fastest time, just 0.465s behind Girolami, having been missing from the official times in FP1 following transponder issues.

Hyundai on the whole, fared far better in FP2 than it did in the first session, with four Elantras finishing inside the top ten.

Langeveld had been the pacesetter for much of the session, and posted a time of 2:13.818 to go over six-tenths of a second quicker than Girolami.

The improvements came quickly though, with the Brutal Fish Racing Honda Civic Type-R of Jack Young jumping between Langeveld and Girolami, while Mat’o Homola was fourth.

After the halfway point of the session, Langeveld still held the fastest time, but this time with a gap of just three-thousandths of a second from points leader Mikel Azcona, who in turn had a margin of just nine-hundredths over Taoufik.

Having posted the second fastest time in opening practice, the Team Clairet Sport Peugeot 308TCR of Jimmy Clairet finished the session fifth fastest, just ahead of reigning Champion Mehdi Bennani in the third SLR Elantra.

Bennani’s team-mate Felice Jelmini was seventh ahead of Young, who faded in the second half of the session, while FP1 pacesetter Teddy Clairet ended up ninth.

Comtoyou Racing’s Tom Coronel completed the top 10 in his Audi RS 3 LMS.

TCR Europe is next in action on Saturday morning with qualifying scheduled to begin at 10:00 CEST. Race 1 will then take place later on in the day, at 16:45.