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Free Practice flash: Czech ETCC racer continues to fly in Portugal

2017-06-24

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FIA European Touring Car Cup title chase Petr Fulín was fastest in Free Practice at ETCC Race of Vila Real as drivers finalised car set-up ahead of this evening’s 30-minute qualifying session.

Driving a Křenek Motorsport SEAT, the Czech racer was fastest in 2m05.955s to edge home hero Fábio Mota by 0.321s with Norbert Nagy third and Zsolt Dávid Szabó fourth despite damaging his car’s suspension.

However, the session didn’t go entirely to plan for Fulín, who is being plagued by a noise coming from the bottom of his car. “I heard some noises in the morning coming from suspension area and we obviously did not diagnose the problem because the noises kept creeping back and louder during the Free Practice. Hence I lack the right confidence for the fear of something breaking up.”

Andreas Pfister, who like Szabó is competing in Vila Real for the first time, was an impressive fifth in his older-specification SEAT with Portuguese ETCC newcomer José Rodrigues sixth, one place ahead of Honda-driving title leader Christjohannes Schreiber. The Swiss stopped momentarily at the pitlane exit due to a faulty warning indicator but was soon back on track although mystified at his lack of ultimate pace.

Behind him Plamen Kralev, in the sole Audi RS3 LMS, had his best time removed for not respecting track limits.

Free Practice took place in ambient temperatures of 28 degrees centigrade with some sections of the challenging street 4.785-kilometre street track slippery due to an oil spillage in an earlier session. Meanwhile, ETCC qualifying begins at 18h00 local time.