Photo: TCR Europe

Aurélien Comte quickest in both TCR Europe practice sessions at Zolder

Aurélien Comte was fastest by over half a second in practice for round two of the TCR Europe season at Zolder.

The SP Competition driver topped both sessions, with the pace considerably quicker in FP1.

Comte was fastest from the off in the first half-hour session, although soon ALM Motorsport’s Ignacio Montenegro moved to the top.

But it was an unrepresentative pace, and when the first flying laps came in Comte was on top again with a 1:39.204. He improved to 1:38.508 next time by, then to 1:38.447 the lap after that. In the remaining 16 minutes of the half-hour session, nobody could get close to his pace.

Goat Racing’s Felipe Fernández held second place for a while, then ALM’s Ruben Volt set a 1:38.986 shortly after Comte’s fastest lap came in. A minute later MA:GP’s Viktor Andersson bettered Volt by 0.026 seconds, and none of the top five improved in the session’s second half as rain hit the circuit.

Monlau Motorsport’s Franco Giolami set his first flying lap just as Andersson went into second, and after the chequered flag he jumped from ninth to sixth place with a 1:39.606. Just over a second covered the top nine, with the bottom three drivers way off th pace. Rubén Fernandez was 8.177s slower than Comte.

Girolami was the early pacesetter in FP2, which was wet throughout, a 1:52.284s set six minutes in keeping him on top until Comte beat him by 0.023s with 11 minutes to go.

Comte had only set a flying lap for the first time on the previous tour and gone second fastest, and the 1:52.261 he set on his second lap proved unbeatable although it was over 13s slower than his FP1 benchmark.

Volt was third fastest, and improved his pace with a minute to go to end the session 0.532s behind Comte. Everybody was on track at the finish, but nobody set personal bests on their final laps.

Qualifying takes place at 11:20 local time (CEST) on Saturday.