Mikhail Grachev put the new Volkswagen Golf TCR on top of the time sheet for the first time, posting the fastest lap in the second Free Practice at the Red Bull Ring. It was an eventful and close session, with a number of drivers who had lap times disallowed and were summoned to the Race Control for trespassing the track limits, especially at Turns 1 and 8. Grachev showed he had a leading pace from the beginning, with provisional fastest laps of 1:42.804 and 1:42.331. Successive improvements by Pol Rosell (1:42.553) and Pepe Oriola (1:41.335) were disallowed by the Race Control, but eventually Stefano Comini (1:41.821) and then Andrea Belicchi (1:41.493) jumped on top of the list. In the second half of the session, Gianni Morbidelli showed up in the top positions for the first time during the weekend. The Italian posted a provisional fastest lap of 1:41.311, but was soon demoted to second by Oriola’s 1:41.250. Morbidelli responded with an even faster lap of 1:40.784 that he managed to improve further to 1:40.633. Satisfaction was followed by disappointment at Liqui Moly Team Engstler, when Rosell’s 1:40.619 was disallowed, but Grachev crossed the line in 1:40.593 and brought the smile back to the German team. The first five drivers were covered by only one tenth: Morbidelli second with a gap of 0.040, Rosell third (+0.458), Comini fourth (+0.145) and Oriola fifth (+146). The next appointment for the TCR drivers will be the Qualifying session, at 16.30 local time.
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