Earl Bamber has laid down a Porsche challenge to the factory Audi and Mercedes-Benz teams by claiming fastest time on the last lap of opening practice for the FIA GT World Cup at the Macau GP.
Bamber’s Manthey Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R claimed first practice honors with a time of 2:19.253 just moments before the end of the first session.
The works Audi team of three times Macau winner Eduardo Montara and Laurens Vanthoor which had dominated the majority of the session, were the only other cars under the 2:20 barrier with Mortara reeling off a 2:19.492 and his teammate two-tenths behind.
The works Mercedes-Benz AMG team in cars new to the circuit lost time in the fast first sector of the difficult 6.1 km road circuit, but were highly competitive across the tight hill-side section.
Defending FIA GT World Cup champion Maro Engel was sixth fastest behind the first of the non-manufacturer entries, the Porsche 991 of British driver Richard Lyons.
New Zealander Bamber was delighted with his result.
“It was my first time in the new 991 Porsche and I’d expected to have to work into bot hit and the track,” he said. “But it was immediately driveable and when there was no traffic to baulk me on the last lap of practice the time came naturally.”
Practice was momentarily halted when Adderly Fong lightly crashed his Bentley Continental GT3 and was stranded mid-track. Fong’s car had to be lifted off the circuit by crane as a traffic jam of competing cars queued behind him.
Fong was fourth fastest of the non-manufacturer entries.
RESULTS: Free Practice 1