FIA WTCR / Oscaro

WTCR JAPAN Free Practice 2 - Highlights

Yann Erhlacher headed Free Practice 2 at WTCR JVCKENWOOD Race of Japan with French drivers claiming five of the top six places as the WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup presented by OSCARO field acclimatised to Suzuka. Ehrlacher hit the top late in the 30-minute session, his ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport Honda Civic Type R TCR proving just 0.144s quicker than DG Sport Compétition’s Aurélien Comte in his PEUGEOT 308TCR. “It’s my first time here and it’s just mega,” said Ehrlacher. “It looks good for our car after some difficult weekends. With two qualifying sessions, we have a busy afternoon. The team have worked hard, so thanks to them.” His Argentinian team-mate Esteban Guerrieri thwarted a French whitewash at the top of the times, with the third best time. He was just ahead of Audi Sport Leopard Lukoil Team’s Jean-Karl Vernay, YMR’s Yvan Muller in his Hyundai i30 N TCR and the Comtoyou Racing Audi RS 3 LMS of Nathanaël Berthon. The top 12 was separated by a second as once again a mix of customer racing brands filled the first half of the timing screen. Team OSCARO by Campos Racing’s Pepe Oriola was the fastest Cupra TCR driver in seventh, ahead of YMR’s Thed Björk and Sébastien Loeb Racing’s Mehdi Bennani in his Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR. WTCR OSCARO points leader Gabriele Tarquini completed the top 10 in his BRC Racing Team Hyundai, just ahead of his team-mate Norbert Michelisz. Tiago Monteiro continued to impress on his emotional return to racing and even topped the times early in the session. He ended up in P15 in his Boutsen Ginion Racing Honda. The session was interrupted by a red flag stoppage with nine minutes to go, after Kevin Ceccon clobbered a tyre stack at the chicane and damaged his front right wheel. “I was quickest in sector one and two and it was all going well until the final corner,” he said with a smile. “I hit the tyre stack while I was still turning. I just have to repeat that performance in qualifying – just not that last corner.”