Santiago Urrutia tops opening practice on Audi’s home turf

by James Bowers

Santiago Urrutia was the fastest driver in the opening TCR Europe practice session at Oschersleben. The Uruguayan’s lap time of 01:31.681 was good enough to leave him two tenths of a second clear of Tom Coronel in second place.

The time was posted late on in the session, just after Team WRT had sent Urrutia out on a fresh set of tyres. This toppled the Honda duo of Tom Coronel and Daniel Lloyd off of the top of the time sheets.

They held onto second and third though, just ahead of Nelson Panciatici. Hyundai had looked very strong for most of the session, but in the end, Panciatici was the best of their challengers in fourth.

Fresh from a performance that catapulted him into title contention at Austria, Luca Engstler started this weekend strongly too, ending the first practice session in the top five.

Andreas Backman made it three Hyundai in a row, while Gianni Morbidelli – who has a history of success at this German circuit – was the best Volkswagen in seventh.

Despite budget issues, PCR Sport have found a way to make it to the race circuit this weekend, and Davit Kajaia‘s eighth place in Practice One will give them hope of results to make it worthwhile.

Behind the Georgian’s Cupra, series debutant Zsolt Szabo ended the session in ninth. Having been hastily brought in to replace Daniel Nagy, this kind of pace was somewhat unexpected, especially considering that he hasn’t driven a race car since last year. So, to be in the top ten right away (albeit in practice) is a rather impressive feat.

Jessica ensured that both Backman siblings made it into the top ten. The Swedish youngsters outperformed their more experienced team-mates at Target Competition as a result, with Josh Files & Mat’o Homola unable to do any better than 17th and 20th respectively.

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