Isidro Callejas and Josh Files tops close first Portimão tests
Isidro Callejas and Josh Files topped the first test sessions of the 2022 TCR Europe opener weekend at Portimão in Portugal, held on Wednesday and Thursday.
Volcano Motorsport driver Callejas (Cupra) topped the first session, beating Brutal Fish Racing’s Pepe Oriola by just 21 thousands of a second.
“It may be just a test but for me these things are really important because I used to think a lot about my times last year and so it’s good to start the season like this,” said Callejas.
“We have been making a lot of work on setting the car up really well and I think the results show it. I’m very happy and I’m also happy for my engineer, but let’s see what will happen tomorrow.”
Jack Young (Honda) of Halder Motorsport was third fastest, just 74 thousands of a second behind Oriola, with flying Dutchman Tom Coronel in fourth.
The first test was stopped once as Luís Cidade of Comtoyou Racing went off and had to be towed back to the pits.
The second session saw 2019 champion Josh Files fastest for Target Competition, lapping the circuit in 1:52.419 to beat Young by 79 thousands of a second.
“We had a decent testing programme over the winter, but now we’re all running together and everyone took new tyres then, so we can see the real pace and it’s good to see that we’re in the mix,” said Files.
“We still have some things to work through on the car because I’m still not happy with the balance in some areas, but overall on the new tyres I think it came together quite well. Compared to yesterday, some grip has gone down and we can brake later and the traction is better so I guess the DTM cars must have laid down some serious rubber for us last night. In turn, it’s changed the balance of the car quite a lot because of it; we made a lot of big changes overnight and all the rubber put down has counteracted what we did.”
Last year’s runner-up Franco Girolami was third fastest for Comtoyou Racing, driving a new Audi RS 3 LMS, just over a tenth of a second behind Files.
Felice Jelmini made it two Target Competition drivers in the top four, with Callejas rounding off the top five, just below four tenths from the top time.
Next up for the TCR Europe field is Free Practice 1, starting at 13:05 CEST tomorrow.