Spanish racers Jordi Gené and Pepe Oriola posted the fastest laps during this morning’s first Free Practice session in Valencia. The two Spaniards took turns on top of the time sheet at the wheel of their Craft-Bamboo Lukoil SEAT León cars. Oriola was the first driver to clock a significant time of 1:43.027, before improving to 1:42.307. Halfway through the session, Gené moved the bar higher with a lap of 1:42.247 that was not to be beaten. Oriola reacted, but his best effort of 1:42.249 remained two thousandths of a second slower than Gene’s. Sergey Afanasyev completed a promising 1-2-3 for Craft-Bamboo Lukoil, posting the third fastest lap of 1:42.621, beating the first Honda Civic that Gianni Morbidelli drove to complete a lap in 1:42.634. Eight of the top ten cars were SEATs: Comini 5th (1:42.724), Nykjær 6th (1:42.807), Belicchi 7th (1:42.820), Schouten 8th (1:42.935), Cebrián 9th (1:43.012). The Audi TT cars of Franz Engstler and Mikhail Grachev followed in 10th and 11th position respectively, one second off the pace. The Opel Astra cars of Campos Racing managed to put in a fair number of laps and Jordi Oriola posted a promising best of 1:43.614, 1.3 seconds off Gene’s fastest lap. The young Spaniard seemed even capable of improving before going wide at Turn 12 and losing the rear bumper on the kerbs. TCR drivers will make their next appearance in the second Free Practice at 12.30 local time.
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