The Spanish duo of Pepe Oriola and Jordi Gené posted the two fastest laps in this morning’s test session at Sochi Autodrom. Local guest star Aleksey Dudukalo set the pace in the early stages, posting a provisional best time of 2:23.606 that was soon beaten by Oriola’s 2:22.922, while Sergey Afanasyev climbed to second (2:23.171). However Dudukalo improved further to 2:22.631 and regained the leadership. The second part of the session saw Gené jumping on top with a lap of 2:22.173, ahead of Mikhail Grachev (2:22.365). Eventually Oriola was able to post the fastest lap of 2:21.349, a few seconds before the chequered flag demoting Gené to second; they were followed by a Russian trio: Grachev, Dudukalo and Afanasyev. Current championhsip leader Gianni Morbidelli was placed in seventh position with a gap of 1.4 seconds.
Oriola commented: “It was a good testing session, with already a good initial set-up in my SEAT. The track has not yet much grip, but this will evolve. I find the track quite interesting and exciting, it’s fun to drive, although the marshals will have to be very attentive with the respect of track limits, because you can gain quite a lot playing with those…”
Grachev added: “Knowing well the circuit, I could focus on working on the car. We have a good set-up to start from, but there is quite some room from improvement.”
Morbidelli said: “I am a little bit puzzled by the track, I don’t find it very interesting, with all these corners very similar one to the other and all these walls. There is only one real fast corner, but which poses no challenge with our cars. Still a lot of work to do on the handling, so we will focus on that.”
TCR drivers will return to action tomorrow morning at 10.00 for the first Free Practice.
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