Norbert Michelisz strikes late to finish top of WTCR second practice

Norbert Michelisz (BRC Squadra C0rse) put in a superb final effort to dominate the second practice session of the World Touring Car Cup at the Anneau du Rhin, beating team-mate Mikel Azcona by just three thousandths of a second.

Michelisz, who finished second in the morning session, clocked a best time of 1:26.769 to lead a Hyundai Elantra N TCR one-two finish at the end of the 30-minute session.

The competitiveness of the 12-car field was such that the top four were split by just six hundredths of a second and the top 10 by less than six tenths.

Azcona was the first reference at the start of the session, with his time of 1:26.772 just three hundredths faster than Michelisz.

This time seemed unbeatable until the final seconds, as Michelisz reached the pinnacle of times after the checkered flag.

Second practice was much better for the Hondas in general, with Attila Tassi finishing third four hundredths off the pace, while Néstor Girolami was fifth.

Indeed, the four Civic Type Rs had solid pace throughout, with Tiago Monteiro – who focused on one race in FP1 – briefly third, as did Esteban Guerrieri who eventually finished the session eighth.

Sharing the Hondas, the Comtoyou Racing Audi RS 3 LMS cars of Nathanaël Berthon finished fourth, while Gilles Magnus finished sixth ahead of teammate Tom Coronel. Mehdi Bennani’s fourth Audi was 10th.

Berthon, who was fastest in FP1, was last in the lead quartet but still just 0.066 seconds off the fastest time.

It was a difficult session for the Cupras of Dáni Nagy and Rob Huff who occupied the last two places in the standings. For Huff, a “tyre slap” was reported on his Zengö Motorsport León midway through the session, and the British driver failed to set a representative time afterwards.

Nagy also seemed to be struggling for pace and finished the session almost a second behind Michelisz.

Qualifying is ahead for the WTCR, with the first segment due to start at 15:00 CEST.

About Christian M.

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