TCR Europe heads to the Belgian circuit of Spa-Francorchamps for the third round of its 2022 season, with an expanded entry list of 23 cars for the series debut of the latest configuration of a classic circuit.
The iconic Eau Rouge and Raidillon now have more runoff space, while other bends have been redone and gravel traps have been added. Between Brussels and Pouhon, there was also a reprofiling of the left court. The new asphalt around the circuit means that drivers will have to adapt to a different level of grip compared to previous years.
Spanish RC2 Junior Team will return to the paddock with three cars, which will drive brothers Rubén and Felipe Fernández in an Audi RS 3 LMS II and a Cupra Leon Competición respectively, as well as Sergio López in a second Cupra. Lopez has done the last two rounds of 2021, while the Fernández brothers have done one weekend each in TCR Europe.
Caren Burton, best known for his rally career in Belgium, brings his own Peugeot 308 TCR to make its series debut and follow up on his last TCR appearance which was sixth place in the 2019 TCR Spa 500 endurance race.
These drivers are only confirmed for Spa, but the latest addition to the grid – 17-year-old Marco Butti – is out for the rest of the season. Last year he started his racing career in TCR Italy and the Italian Touring Car Championship, while this year he continued in TCR and also appeared in Italian GT.
His transition to TCR Europe is with Èlite Motorsport, supported by Comtoyou Racing, in his Audi. The team was absent from the most recent round at Paul Ricard, but took part in Portimão’s season opener with Luís Cidade.
After Paul Ricard, Franco Girolami de Comtoyou leads the championship standings with a 13-point lead over his teammate Tom Coronel, winner of the 2019 TCR Spa 500 and last winner of the TCR Europe. Viktor Davidovski was the other driver to taste victory last time out, as he became the first Diamond Trophy entrant to claim an overall win.
Behind the Comtoyou drivers, Volcano Motorsport’s Klim Gavrilov (Cupra) and Brutal Fish Racing Team’s Pepe Oriola (Honda Civic Type R TCR) led the chase and completed the podium behind Davidovski the last time the field was on track. .
Free practice at Spa takes place on Friday at 09:00 and 13:30 CEST, then split qualifying takes place the following day. Q1 starts at 10:40 a.m., lasts 20 minutes and then there is a five-minute gap before the fastest drivers head out for the ten-minute Q2.
The first race, which fans will be able to watch for free as spectator tickets cost nothing this weekend, begins at 3:00 p.m. and the second race on Sunday rounds out the event with a scheduled start time of 11:35 a.m.