Photo: TCR Europe

Tom Coronel grows TCR Europe lead with pole for finale

Tom Coronel has extended his TCR Europe points lead ahead of the final two races of the season by taking pole at Barcelona.

The Comtoyou Racing driver was fastest by 0.194 seconds over teammate Kobe Pauwels in Q2, with John Filippi and Lewis Brown giving the Belgian team a lockout of the top four positions by lapping 0.343s and 0.43s slower than Coronel respectively.

MA:GP’s Viktor Andersson was best of the rest in his Lynk & Co 03 TCR, 0.561s off pole in fifth place.

In Q1 it was initially ALM Motorsport’s Ruben Volt who set the pace, then Coronel moved ahead with a 1:49.184 to lead Pauwels by 0.404s.

Pauwels reduced that gap to 0.069s with just under five-and-a-half minutes left of Q1, with Brown in third and fellow Comtoyou driver Nicola Baldan in fourth as the only other drivers to lap sub-1:50.

With two-and-a-half minutes to go Pauwels moved ahead of Coronel with a 1:48.820 lap, and Filippi moved into third place with a 1:49.425. Pauwels stayed on top until the chequered flag waved,, with Coronel second and Balan going third fastest with a 1:49.372 lap.

Propping up the timesheet in 13th place, and therefore not competing in Q2, was Aggressive Team Italia boss Mauro Guastamacchia who was 3.793s off the pace.

Coronel’s opening lap in Q2 was a 1:48.968, not far off the benchmark Q1 pace, and although he failed to improve on that it still earned him pole.

Filippi was his closest rival at first, then Pauwels with his first flying lap qualified second and just 0.194s short of pole. He is now 13 points behind Coronel, who grew his lead by three points with pole.

That left Filippi in third and Brown in fourth, and Andersson was the highest placed of the drivers to actually meet the chequered flag at the end of qualifying.

Volt was one of many who failed to improve after his opening lap and went tenth fastest, 1.854s off the pace.

Before qualifying he changed the turbo in his Honda Civic Type R TCR, doing so without penalty, but an engine change then put him to the back of the grid for Race 1 which is scheduled to start at 17:55 local time (CEST) today.