AKKA-ASP’s No. 88 Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo paced Friday afternoon’s Free Practice session for the Paul Ricard 1000km courtesy of Raffaele Marciello.
Marciello, who is teamed up with Jules Gounon and Daniel Juncadella for round two of the Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS Endurance Cup season, led the 47-car field with a time of 1:53.942.
The Italian ended up 0.222 seconds clear of Winward Racing’s Philip Ellis and Sainteloc Racing’s Christopher Haase who tied for the second-fastest lap of the 90-minute session.
Mercedes-AMG DTM driver Ellis ended up ahead in the leaderboard due to his 1:54.164 time coming before Haase’s in the No. 25 Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo.
JOTA finished fourth as Ben Barnicoat produced a 1:54.560 flying lap in the British team’s McLaren 720S GT3.
Team WRT Audi driver James Pull placed fifth overall and second in the Silver Cup class behind category leader Ellis, while Maro Engel was sixth in the Haupt Racing Team Mercedes-AMG.
The other Silver Cup entry to breach the top ten was the No. 159 Garage 59 Aston Martin Vantage GT3 with Valentin Hasse-Clot at the helm.
Christian Klien was the early pace-setter for JP Motorsport, on the team’s first outing with the McLaren 720S GT3. The ex-Formula 1 driver then lost the top spot a few minutes later to Marciello whose effort on lap five stood as the best time of the session.
Klien was ultimately classified in eighth, ahead of Iron Lynx Ferrari driver Callum Ilott and Albert Costa in the No. 163 Emil Frey Racing Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo.
Just outside the top ten in 11th position was Chris Froggatt, who set the Pro-Am class pace with a time of 1:54.842 aboard Sky-Tempesta Racing’s No. 93 Ferrari.
Endurance Cup track action resumes this evening with a Pre-Qualifying practice session starting at 8:40 p.m. CEST (2:40 p.m. EST).
RESULTS: Free Practice