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Vilander Quickest on Friday in St. Pete

Toni Vilander, R. Ferri quickest in both practice sessions Friday at St. Pete…

Photo: PWC

Toni Vilander ended the opening day of track action in St. Pete on top, with the Finn sweeping both Pirelli World Challenge GT practice sessions ahead of this weekend’s pair of Sprint season-opening races.

The Ferrari factory driver posted a 1:11.601 lap time to go quickest of the day in Friday’s second practice, edging out the No. 96 Pfaff Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R of Scott Hargrove by 0.035 seconds.

Hargrove led the way in the majority of the 40-minute session but was topped by Daniel Keilwitz’s Callaway Corvette C7 GT3-R in the final five minutes, thanks to a 1:11.704 lap by the German.

However, Vilander responded in the No. 61 R. Ferri Motorsport Ferrari 488 GT3 with just seconds left on the clock.

Keilwitz was third quickest, ahead of the No. 24 Alegra Motorsports Porsche of Michael Christensen and Daniel Mancinelli in the No. 31 TR3 Racing Ferrari, who completed the top-five.

Rodrigo Baptista led the way in GTA, thanks to a 1:12.584 lap in the No. 3 K-PAX Racing Bentley Continental GT3.

The Brazilian outpaced teammate, 2016 GT champion Alvaro Parente, who was an uncharacteristic 8th on the overall time sheets in the No. 9 Bentley.

Martin Fuentes was second quickest in GTA in Practice 2, followed by Parker Chase in the No. 19 TruSpeed Autosport Audi R8 LMS.

Qualifying is set to get underway at 9:15 a.m. ET on Saturday, followed by Race 1 at 3:50 p.m.

RESULTS: Practice 2

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365 as well as the recently launched e-racing365 Web site for electric racing. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for FOXSports.com/SPEED Channel, and contributes to other publications worldwide. Contact John

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