It was a promising Friday in Monza for the ladies of TCR Europe, as Jessica Bäckman was fifth in a dry second practice session. After a sixth place in the rain-affected and red-flagged practice 1, Michelle Halder was P14 in the afternoon on old tyres, which brings high hopes for Saturday's qualifying.
Day 1 in Monza is in the books - in a chilly but dry Autodromo Nazionale di Monza, the
second practice session of TCR Europe saw Jessica Bäckman bouncing back to a strong P5.
The young Swede is very happy about how she ended her day, which started with an unhelpful FP1 under the heavy rain that didn't provide her with valuable data. In the second 30-minute session, Jessica immediately had a good feeling with her #26 Hyundai i30N TCR and could always improve on each set of tyres.
Michelle Halder had another solid session and finished in P14 with no set of new tyres.
"FP1 was a little bit crazy, as we went out and it was dry but I could only do one lap in these conditions before the rain came.", said Michelle.
"It's my first time here, but I really like it. FP2 was quite good in the dry - we only had old tyres, so I think both in pace and performance it's been great, so we'll see how tomorrow's qualifying will be, but hopefully we can go into Q2 and advance in the reverse grid, I'll give it my best."
"So far I really liked Monza, it's a bit difficult over the kerbs, but I really liked that!", she added. Saturday's better weather forecast will also comfort Jessica, who said that she definitely prefers running in dry conditions.
The session was topped by Julien Briché in the JSB Competition Peugeot 308 TCR, who set a fastest lap of 1:57.726 ahead of Mehdi Bennati in the Comtoyou Audi RS3 LMS - over 6 tenths of a second behind. Jimmy Clairet and Sami Toufik were P3 and P4, in a top-four dominated by Peugeot and Audi cars.
Qualifying will go green at the Italian Temple of Speed tomorrow morning at 10:55 CEST, with the session being split into Q1 (20 minutes) and Q2 (10 minutes), featuring the fastest 12 drivers.