Christopher Haase narrowly beat Dominik Baumann to put Sainteloc Racing’s No. 25 Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo on top of the leaderboard in Pre-Qualifying practice for the Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS Sprint Cup round at Misano.
Haase led the 80-minute session with a 1:32.552 lap time, while Baumann came up just 0.013 seconds short in the No. 20 SPS Automotive Performance Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo.
Baumann led the Pro-Am category despite missing out on the overall top spot.
Haase, who is teamed up with Leo Roussel, became the second Audi driver to post a fastest lap on Friday after Team WRT’s Charles Weerts set the pace in Free Practice.
Weerts’s table-topping effort was the quicker of the two by around half a second.
The Belgian’s driving partner Dries Vanthoor ended up third in Pre-Qualifying, one place ahead of Pierre-Alexandre Jean in the Silver Cup-leading No. 107 CMR Bentley Continental GT3.
Less than three-tenths of a second separated the top five as Raffaele Marciello came through in fifth on a time of 1:32.831 in the No. 88 AKKA-ASP Mercedes-AMG.
Audi factory drivers Kelvin van der Linde and Markus Winkelhock – who is in Sainteloc’s additional No. 27 Audi alongside Finlay Hutchison – were sixth and seventh.
Weekend News & Notes
***2019 European Le Mans Series GTE champion Fabien Lavergne is making his Sprint Cup debut this weekend, sharing the No. 66 Attempto Racing Audi with Christopher Mies. Lavergne, 35, has never previously raced the GT3 Audi while his only prior experience in the discipline has come behind the wheel of a Ferrari in the Michelin Le Mans Cup.
***Emil Frey Racing was granted permission to undertake a shakedown lap for its No. 163 Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo, after the Swiss team built up a new chassis to replace one that was damaged in a heavy crash at last week’s TotalEnergies 24 Hours of Spa test days. The Sainteloc Audi driven by Haase and Roussel is also new after experiencing an accident of its own at Spa.
***The minimum pit stop time for Pro-Am at Misano has been set at 77 seconds.
***In addition to Friday’s Free Practice and Pre-Qualifying sessions, four hours of paid testing was held on Thursday. The fastest lap was a 1:32.552 set by Team WRT Audi driver Charles Weerts. This turned out to be identical to Haase’s Pre-Qualifying number.
***Misano has historically been a strong track for WRT, which has won on four of the six occasions that Sprint Cup has visited the 2.6-mile, 16-turn circuit near the Adriatic coast.
***The Fanatec GT2 European Series returns this weekend, as one of six support series on the Misano weekend bill. Ten cars are on the entry list, including five KTM X-Bow GT2s and a trio of Audi R8 LMS GT2s. A new entry is Target Racing’s Lamborghini Huracan Super Trofeo GT2 for Cedric Leimer and Mauro Casadei.
Laurent Mercier contributed to this report.