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AKKA-ASP Mercs Pace Barcelona Pre-Qualifying

AKKA-ASP first and second in GTWC Europe Pre-Qualifying practice at Barcelona…

Photo: Dirk Bogaerts/SRO

Raffaele Marciello and Thomas Drouet led a one-two result for Mercedes-AMG outfit AKKA-ASP in Pre-Qualifying practice for the 3 Hours of Barcelona.

Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evos finished first, second and third after cars from the German manufacturer blocked out the top four positions in Free Practice on Saturday morning.

The afternoon session, which ran without any incidents, was led by the No. 88 AKKA-ASP machine that Marciello shares with Jules Gounon and Felipe Fraga.

The Italian driver posted a time of 1:46.510 during his first turn behind the wheel to lead the 90-minute session from Drouet in AKKA-ASP’s Silver Cup car by 0.149 seconds.

Marciello’s effort to lead Pre-Qualifying came after Fraga set the second-fastest lap in Free Practice, although the Brazilian was actually quicker during the first session.

Pro-Am pacesetter Jim Pla went third-fastest overall in the GetSpeed Performance Mercedes-AMG with a time of 1:46.673.

The best non-Mercedes entry was the Invitational-class Audi R8 LMS GT3 evo II from Sainteloc Racing, which in the hands of Markus Winkelhock rose to fifth late on.

Winkelhock submitted a 1:46.742 in the No. 26 Audi, which is considered invisible from the results this weekend due to its purpose of testing in a race environment.

Marvin Dienst completed the top five near the end of the session aboard the Silver-class Mercedes-AMG from Toksport WRT.

The German driver’s improvement to a 1:46.766 bumped Jens Klingmann in the Pro-Am Boutsen Ginion BMW M6 GT3 down to sixth.

By contrast, the Pro-category BMWs from Walkenhorst Motorsport were off the pace in Pre-Qualifying, in 36th and 45th respectively.

The 45th-placed No. 35 Walkenhorst car propped up the Endurance Cup field. 46 cars are entered this weekend but the No. 188 Garage 59 Aston Martin Vantage GT3 did not take part in the latest track session.

Christian Engelhart came through in seventh for Porsche outfit Dinamic Motorsport, ahead of Ben Barnicoat in the JOTA McLaren 720S GT3 and Mathieu Jaminet in the Martini-liveried GPX Racing Porsche.

Team WRT’s No. 30 Audi from Silver Cup completed the top ten as the Belgian team’s Sprint Cup title-winning No. 32 car rounded out the top 20 in turn.

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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