Qualifying got underway for Race One of the opening weekend of the Fanatec GT World Challenge Powered by AWS Sprint Cup with track temperatures soaring under the Bank Holiday weekend sunshine.
Mattia Drudi set the early pace in the #12 Tresor by Car Collection Audi R8 LMS with a 1:22.206 but was quickly toppled from the top of the timing screens by Ulysse De Pauw in the #53 Silver Cup AF Corse Ferrari 488 GT3 with a 1:21.854.
Alex Malykhin, teammate of Ben Barker in the #78 Barwell Motorsport Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo, was unwell and unable to participate in qualifying. Barker was due to drive in both sessions.
Valentino Rossi in the #46 Team WRT Audi set a 1:23.262 to go 18th quickest overall at the halfway stage.
De Pauw improved to a 1:21.770 as Jules Gounon split De Pauw and Drudi with a 1:21.925.
With less than eight minutes left of the session, De Pauw remained at the top of the timing screens with many of the quickest pilots in the pits. De Pauw was not resting on his laurels, however, by setting a purple sector time in Sector 1 to go on to improve his provisional pole time. The lap time was disallowed, however, sue to track limit infringements.
The session was red-flagged with a minute remaining, placing the Silver Cup entry of De Pauw on pole with his 1:21.770 with Jules Gounon in the #88 Mercedes second quickest with a 1:21.804.
Completing the overall top three was the #12 Tresor by Car Collections Audi in which Mattis Drudi set a 1:21.931.
Second quickest in the Silver Cup class was Giles Magnus in the #26 Sainteloc Junior Team Audi.
Class honours in the Pro-Am Cup category went to the #52 AF Corse Ferrari driven by Louis Machiels who set a 1:23.232.