Gilles Magnus scores first TCR pole position at Spa

by James Bowers

Belgian youngster, Gilles Magnus, has taken his first pole position in the TCR Europe Series on home turf at Spa Francorchamps.

Magnus was the fastest driver in Q2, beating fellow Audi racer Santiago Urrutia to pole by around six hundredths of a second. Behind the Audi duo, Dan Lloyd thought he had done enough to secure third place on the grid, however that result was taken away by the stewards as it was deemed that he had illegally competed in Q2.

Only the 12 fastest cars from Q1 progress into Q2, at which point they can battle for pole position. Lloyd had indeed set a time fast enough to secure his progression into Q2, however that lap time was set narrowly after the session had been red-flagged.

By consequence, Lloyd has had all of his Q2 times deleted, and instead will line up from 18th on the grid in both races this weekend.

The cause of those red flags was none other than championship points leader, Josh Files. Following in the footsteps of Teddy Clairet, Files had a big shunt at Raidillon, prematurely ending his own qualifying performance. The Briton has a mountain to climb as a result, as he’ll be starting from 33rd position if his team can repair the car in time.

As well as Magnus, another young Belgian performed well on home turf. Maxime Potty claimed third place on the grid in his Team WRT Volkswagen, just ahead of team-mate Ashley Sutton. Sutton is competing in TCR Europe for the first time this season, this weekend.

Tasked with developing a new ECU for the Volkswagen, Sutton’s R&D programme could yet provide some surprise success. The former British Touring Car Champion is a hugely talented driver, but is being held back this weekend by a significant amount of compensation weight. Fourth place in qualifying is therefore made all the more impressive.

Aurelien Comte was the fastest non-VAG Group driver in fifth, just ahead of fellow Peugeot driver Julien Briche in sixth.

Mat’o Homola was the quickest of the heavy Hyundai fleet, lining up in seventh ahead of Jimmy Clairet‘s Peugeot. Davit Kajaia ended up ninth in his Cupra; his best performance since stepping back into TCR machinery.

Lloyd’s demotion has promoted Dusan Borkovic up into tenth, and crucially pole position for the reversed grid race on Sunday.

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