Photo: Blancpain GT Series
Audi and Mercedes alternated the top four positions on the timing sheets for the opening practice session at Brands Hatch for the opening rounds of the 2019 Blancpain GT World Challenge Europe.
2018 drivers champion Raffaele Marciello, at the wheel of the #88 Akka ASP Team Mercedes-AMG GT3 he shares with Vincent Abril, lapped the 2.433 mile Brands Hatch GP circuit in 1:23.310 to set the fastest time of the first 60-minute practice session, lapping .170 seconds quicker than the #55 Attempto Racing Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo, driven by Steijn Schothorst and Nick Foster, the Dutch driver setting the time.
Completing the top three was #89 Akka ASP Team Mercedes of Nico Bastian and Thomas Neubauer, Bastian lapping in 1.23.483 early in the session. The #89 car was quickest of the Silver entries.
Quickest of the Pro-Am entries was the #333 Rinaldi Racing Ferrari F488 GT3 crewed by Rinat Salikhov and David Perel, the South African driver putting in a 1:24.452 late in the session to quicker than Phil Keen, at the wheel of the #519 Orange 1 FFF Racing Team Lamborghini Huracan GT3.
The sole Am Cup entry, the #HB Racing Ferrari F488 GT3 of Jens Liebhaser and Florian Scholze lapped in 1:26.466.
All entries on the 26-car grid got through the session unscathed with the exception of the #25 Sainteloc Racing Audi, piloted by Christopher Haase and Simon Gachet. Gachet put circulated twice before returning to the garage to have the rear of the car worked on.
The Blancpain GT World Challenge grid are next on track for FP2 at 12:30 local time..