Photo: TCR Europe

Pauwel pips Jelmini to top spot in TCR Europe’s second Monza practice

Kobe Pauwels was fastest in TCR Europe’s second practice session at a wet Monza, as Audis filled the top four places.

First place was occupied exclusively by Audi drivers throughout the half-hour session, with Comtoyou Racing’s John Filippi first to top the times with a 2:16.200.

Less than a minute later that had been beaten by PMA Motorsport’s Felice Jelmini, who set a 2:15.972, but Filippi responded with a 2:15.405.

Tucked into his slipstream was team-mate Nicola Baldan, and the benefit of that showed as he went 0.67 seconds faster. On his next lap Baldan found even more pace, setting a 2:14.511, then a minute-and-a-half later team-mate Pauwels went to the top for the first time as he recorded a 2:14.283 lap.

Pauwels and Baldan were the benchmark drivers for the next quarter of an hour, lowering the pace several times and going sub-2:14. It was not until the final six minutes that someone else was able to threaten them at the top, and it was another Comtoyou driver.

Viktor Davidovski set a 2:13.579 to lead the way by 0.251s, but that gap was bridged and then overturned. Jelmini was first to, going fastest by 0.206s, then Pauwels went a further 0.132s faster to end the session on top on tyres that had done less laps than his opposition.

Neither Jelmini or Davidovski could improve on their final laps and remained in second and third place, with Baldan in fourth and Filippi all the way down in eighth and 1.627s off the pace.

ALM Motorsport’s Ruben Volt was the fastest non-Audi driver in fifth, 0.803s slower than Pauwels in his Honda Civic Type R TCR. Levente Losonczy was sixth for Aggressive Team Italia in a Hyundai Elantra N TCR, and a sizable 0.683s slower than Volt, and Comtoyou’s points leader Tom Coronel was seventh.

Qualifying starts at 12:00 CEST on Saturday.