Nico Bastian set the Haupt Racing Team No. 6 Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo on top of the timing charts in the opening track session for this weekend’s Nürburgring 24.
Bastian scaled the first of three qualifying practice sessions with a time of 8:23.596 that came six minutes from the end. The German driver is sharing the No. 6 Mercedes-AMG with Maro Engel, Patrick Assenheimer and HRT owner Hubert Haupt.
The quickest laps during the 90-minute Q1 session all came in the latter stages after a damp start under cloudy skies gradually gave way to full-on slick tire conditions.
Four different GT3 manufacturers finished in the overall top-four as Dennis Olsen posted the second-quickest time in the No. 31 Frikadelli Racing Team Porsche 911 GT3 R.
The Norwegian’s 8:23.864 effort was just two-tenths shy of the top spot, and a further second clear of Christopher Haase in the Audi Sport Team Car Collection R8 LMS GT3 Evo.
Fourth place went to Christian Krognes who posted a 8:25.033 behind the wheel of Walkenhorst Motorsport’s No. 101 BMW M6 GT3.
Haupt Racing Team initially looked set to run first and second with its pair of Mercedes-AMG Team-designated entries, after Manuel Metzger shot to the top of the times with 10 minutes to go followed by Bastian who made a three-second improvement.
Metzger ended up eighth after a flurry of fast laps from other drivers at the end of the session.
Among them, Robin Frijns rose to fifth for 2019 winner Audi Sport Team Phoenix ahead of KCMG Porsche driver Alexandre Imperatori and Michele di Martino in the Konrad Motorsport Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo.
Hankook FFF Racing Team’s Lamborghini and the sole Manthey Racing SP9-class Porsche filled out the rest of the top ten.
Frijns’ co-driver Dries Vanthoor went provisionally quickest with a 9:21.960 after 40 minutes of running, but around 25 minutes later Romain Dumas had used the improving conditions to take around 17 seconds off that number for Porsche outfit Rutronik Racing.
Dumas then traded the fastest lap with ROWE Racing’s John Edwards, who was the first diver to break nine minutes, before the HRT Mercedes-AMGs came on strong towards the end.
The fastest non-GT3 car was the Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus SCG 004C in 25th overall, on a time of 8:36.646.
Black Falcon’s Gabriele Piana came through as the best GT4 driver in 35th, while Luca Engstler ran 39th to lead the TCR division in a Hyundai Motorsport i30N.
Thursday’s double-length second ‘qualifying practice’ session is due to start at 8:30 p.m. CEST (2:30 p.m. EST). Qualifying practice determines the grid positions outside Friday’s Top Qualifying sessions for SP9 (GT3) and SP-X class competitors.
RESULTS: Qualifying 1