Photo: TCR Europe

Tom Coronel fastest of 14-car field in wet first TCR Europe practice at Monza

Comtoyou Racing’s title contenders Tom Coronel and Kobe Pauwels disputed to spot in TCR Europe’s first practice at Monza, which took place on a wet track.

That meant lap times were considerably slower than what was being achieved at the track last year, with Coronel’s session-topping 2:12.657 over 16 seconds slower than the fastest lap set during the 2022 Monza round.

Coronel’s initial benchmark in the practice session was a 2:15.096, and he improved to 2:13.693 before team-mate Pauwels bettered him by 0.58 seconds. Most drivers were then in the pits, and nine minutes later more improvements came in including a lowering of the pace by Pauwels.

But his 2:13.077 only kept him in first place for a further minute before Coronel set a 2:12.657 that would not be beaten. Pauwels could find no more pace in his final laps, and was shuffled down to third place as team-mate Viktor Davidovski set a 2:12.814.

The top six positions were filled by Comtoyou drivers, with new signing Lewis Brown in fourth place. Brown had previously been driving for Volcano Motorsport, which like Comtoyou uses Audi RS 3 LMS TCRs.

The fastest non-Audi driver was MA:GP’s Viktor Andersson in seventh, and he was 0.802s off the pace in his Lynk & Co 03 TCR. Every other driver was either more than one or two seconds slower than Coronel, and in total only 14 cars hit the track despite 17 being on the entry list.

The most notable omission was Dušan Borković, whose Target Competition team withdrew mid-weekend in the previous round and had not shared any plans for a return but had paid for a full-season entry for Borković in a Hyundai Elantra N TCR and so his name appeared on the entry list.

Second practice starts at 18:19 local time later today.