Mirko Bortolotti set the pace in pre-qualifying for the GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS Endurance Cup season-opener at Imola as Audis lapped first, second and third in the 90-minute session.
Bortolotti set a time of 1:41.702 behind the wheel of the No. 31 Team WRT Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo that the Italian is sharing with Kelvin van der Linde and Matthieu Vaxiviere.
This lap two-thirds into the session supplanted the No. 66 Attempto Racing Audi at the top of the leaderboard, while the two cars were separated by 0.217 seconds at the end.
Frederic Vervisch set the 1:41.919 lap that put Attempto second, while the Audi 1-2-3 was completed by Arthur Rougier in the Pro-Am class No. 26 Sainteloc Racing R8.
Fourth-quickest was Jordan Pepper in the No. 9 K-PAX Racing Bentley Continental GT3, just under half a second off the pace set by Bortolotti who also led the way in both of Friday’s paid testing sessions.
Former FIA Formula 2 driver Dorian Bocolacci completed the top five in the Pro-class Sainteloc Audi, while Fabian Schiller planted the GetSpeed Performance Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo in sixth.
Unlike Free Practice which was interrupted by three red flag stoppages, pre-qualifying ran without incident which enabled the teams in the 46-car field to build up their mileage around the Imola circuit, which is new to the GTWC Europe Endurance Cup calendar.
The Silver Cup class pace was set by the Tech 1 Racing Lexus RC F GT3 that finished seventh overall in the hands of Aurelien Panis.
The 25-year-old Frenchman ended up just 0.072 seconds ahead of his nearest class rival who was Nicolas Schoell in the No. 55 Attempto Racing Audi.
The set of three qualifying sessions to determine the grid order for the 3 Hours of Imola is due to start later today at 5:30 p.m. CEST (11:30 a.m. EST).