Andreas Backman lands back-to-back pole positions in TCR Europe

by James Bowers

As the damp Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya began to dry out, Andreas Backman emerged from the changing conditions as the fastest driver of all. His lap time of 02:12.123 ensured that he would take pole position in the TCR Europe Series for the second time in as many events.

Backman’s efforts put him three tenths of a second clear of championship points leader – and Target Competition teammate – Josh Files. The Brit will be elated with that result, as his nearest title challenger, Luca Engstler, could only reach as high as twelfth. Engstler will therefore be lucky to avoid the inevitable midfield drama that tends to unfold.

Julien Briche lies third in the championship at the moment, but could well overtake Engstler in the running order as the Frenchman also managed to place his Peugeot into the top three in qualifying.

The fastest driver in Free Practice Two, Santiago Urrutia, was next up in fourth place in his Audi, just ahead of the Clairet brothers (Jimmy & Teddy) to round out the top six.

Tom Coronel posted the seventh fastest time in qualifying; a much more competitive result compared to his recent difficulties when racing in the World Touring Car Cup.

Behind the ultra-experienced Dutchman was teenage racer, Jack Young, who happens to be making his debut in TCR racing this weekend. Young’s performance was certainly an eye-opener, especially considering that he’d done so well while driving the unfancied Renault Megane RS, which has struggled in the hands of John Filippi all year.

Gilles Magnus was brought back down to earth in ninth place after being the quickest driver in Free Practice One, while the top ten in qualifying was rounded out by Daniel Lloyd for the Brutal Fish Racing team. Crucially though, as the starting order for the top ten is reversed in Race Two, Lloyd and Magnus will be sharing the front row of the grid on Sunday.

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