Photo: TCR Europe

Ruben Volt on TCR Europe pole at Spa as track limits catch out rivals

ALM Motorsport’s Ruben Volt claimed pole for TCR Europe Race 1 at Spa-Francorchamps in a qualifying session filled with track limits violations.

SP Competition’s Aurélien Comte and ALM’s Ignacio Montenegro were the drivers to beat through most of Q1, with Comte laying down the first benchmark: a 2:56.521.

Montenegro was initially 0.256 seconds behind, then Comtoyou Racing’s Jimmy Clairet went fastest by 0.836s. When Montenegro and Comte completed their second flying laps they returned to the top two spots, and Montenegro set a 2:47.855 to go fastest by 1.052. His team-mate Ruben Volt later cut that gap to 0.104s, with Monlau Motorsport’s Viktor Davidovski almost six seconds off the pace in fourth as some drivers’ improved lap times failed to count due to track limits violations.

Volt’s fourth lap was a 2:36.821, which put him back on top and by 0.516s over Montenegro. Comte was 0.974s behind, and GOAT Racing’s Rubén Fernández was 6.41s back in fourth. In clean air and later to his fourth lap was Monlau’s Franco Girolami, and he beat Volt by 0.319s.

Comte went quickest again on his fifth lap with a 2:35.302, and Montenegro was only 0.159s slower than him. But both had their improvements deleted as red flags waved, so Girolami and Volt reassumed the top two places. There was no restart, so Girolami ended Q1 on top.

Clairet had all of his laps set at a representative deleted and so ended up in 13th place, 23.810s off the pace. His team-mate Nicola Baldan joined him in failing to progress to the second segment of qualifying.

Fernández’s team-mate and brother Felipe began Q2 as the fastest driver, setting a 2:49.837. He failed to improve on his second lap, but remained on top ahead of Volt, Comte and Girolami before the latter had all of his laps deleted and fell to 12th.

There was again no improvement by Fernández on his third lap, while Volt went from being 0.055s behind to 0.152s ahead as Fernández had his first effort deleted and dropped to ninth place.

The first race of the weekend starts at 18:20 CEST.