Comtoyou Racing’s teammates Frédéric Vervisch and Denis Dupont posted the two fastest laps in the first Free Practice at Dubai Autodrome.
The two Belgians improved their pace in the final minutes of the session and swapped the top positions a couple of times. Eventually Vervisch’s Audi RS3 LMS was clocked at 1:28.806, with Dupont’s SEAT León second in 1:28.855.
The Hyundai i30 N cars of Gabriele Tarquini (1:29.196) and Alain Menu (1:29.548) ranked third and fourth; Tarquini having been the fastest for most of the session. Pepe Oriola was fifth fastest (1:29.591) ahead of the current championship leader Jean-Karl Vernay (1:29.627), Gianni Morbidelli (1:59.635) and James Nash (1:29.735).
Newcomers Benjamin Leuchter (1:29.753) and Gordon Shedden (1:30.000) rounded off the top-ten. TCR Germany champion Josh Files (1:30.008) was the fastest Honda driver in 11th position, just ahead of Dušan Borković’s Alfa Romeo Giulietta (1:30.039).
Despite sitting in the pits for a while, due to a brake issue, Aurélien Comte was the fastest of the Opel drivers in 15th position, just ahead of his DG Sport teammate Mat’o Homola.
Davit Kajaia and Attila Tassi did not post any valid time. The Georgian’s Alfa Romeo Giulietta underwent a damper change, while Tassi’s Honda Civic was stopped by an issue with an engine sensor.
The second Free Practice will start at 11:50 local time; live streaming at www.tcr-series.com and www.tcr-series.tv.