While all the talk this weekend has been about the new-generation GT3 machinery, it was a Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3 that led the way in Free Practice 1 in Dubai.
The No. 6 SPS Automotive Performance Merc topped the time sheets in the 30-minute session, having turned a 1:59.808 lap time, and being the only car to dip under the 2:00 barrier.
The German squad edged out the No. 888 Dragon Racing Ferrari 458 Italia GT3 by 0.698 seconds, with the no. 11 Scuderia Praha Ferrari a further tenth behind in third.
The best new-spec GT3 car could only muster fifth quickest, with the No. 14 Optimum Motorsports Audi R8 LMS of Frank Stippler nearly one-second adrift from the leading Mercedes.
Creventic handed out revised Balance of Performance for a number of cars this morning, including minimum weight and ride height changes to the Audi.
The No. 7 HB Motorsport Lamborghini Huracan GT3 returned to action following an all-nighter by the Austrian crew following a fire in yesterday’s test session. It posted the 16th quickest time.
Free Practice 2 gets underway at 1:30 p.m. local time and runs through 4 p.m.