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Abril Beats Marciello to Top Spot in Mercedes Pre-Quali 1-2

HRT leads ASP has Mercedes-AMGs run first and second in Paul Ricard Pre-Quali…

Photo: Dirk Bogaerts/SRO

Haupt Racing Team’s Vincent Abril beat AKKA-ASP driver Raffaele Marciello to the top spot in Pre-Qualifying for the Paul Ricard 1000km as Mercedes-AMGs finished first and second.

Abril led the 90-minute Friday evening session with a time of 1:53.993 in the No. 4 BWT-liveried Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo that the Monegasque driver shares with Maro Engel and Luca Stolz.

Marciello landed on a 1:54.167 to run 0.174 seconds off his fellow AMG factory driver in this session, but still came away with the quickest time of the day thanks to his Free Practice number in the afternoon which undercut Abril’s attempt by 0.051 seconds.

Sainteloc Racing had another strong run with its No. 25 Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo finishing third for the second consecutive session, courtesy of a 1:54.236 from Christopher Haase.

BMW and Lamborghini emerged at the sharp end, as David Pittard placed fourth for Walkenhorst Motorsport’s No. 34 crew ahead of Mirko Bortolotti in the Orange 1 FFF Racing Team Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo.

Most of the top times came in the opening stages of the session, which ran into darkness and took place without any Full Course Yellow periods or noteworthy incidents.

Konstantin Tereschenko narrowly beat Mikael Grenier to sixth position overall, and the top spot in the Silver Cup class.

As was the case in the overall rankings, the Silver category ended up with a one-two for Mercedes-AMG as Gachet planted the No. 87 AKKA-ASP entry ahead by 0.148 seconds.

Timo Glock was seventh outright in the second Walkenhorst Motorsport BMW M6 GT3, from Mikkel O. Pedersen in the No. 56 Dinamic Motorsport Porsche 911 GT3 R.

Dinamic’s other Porsche, which claimed victory in the season-opening 3 Hours of Monza, ran down in 19th.

Eddie Cheever completed the top ten in the No. 93 Sky-Tempesta Racing Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo 2020, which topped the Pro-Am division for a second consecutive session.

Cheever’s 1:54.731 marker shaved 0.111 seconds off the lap time set by his co-driver Chris Froggatt during Free Practice.

The end of Pre-Qualifying brought the weekend’s practice sessions to a close and leads to qualifying tomorrow morning for Saturdays’ race into the night. 

RESULTS: Pre-Qualifying

Daniel Lloyd is a UK-based reporter for Sportscar365, covering the FIA World Endurance Championship, GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, among other series.

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