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GT World Challenge Europe

Long Red Flag Interrupts Brands Hatch Free Practice; Pla Fastest

Barrier repairs at Westfield cause long red flag in Free Practice at Brands Hatch…

Image: SRO

A red flag period caused by an accident for Team WRT’s Benjamin Goethe resulted in a one-hour delay to the completion of Free Practice for the Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS Sprint Cup round at Brands Hatch.

Goethe’s No. 30 Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo crashed at the Westfield right-hander 24 minutes into the 60-minute morning session. The car ran straight through the gravel before making contact with and partially mounting the outer tire barriers.

The ensuing barrier repairs triggered a prolonged stoppage during the opening GTWC Europe track session of the weekend.

Free Practice was placed on hold for just over an hour until 30 minutes of green flag running was initiated at 10:30 a.m., half an hour after the originally planned ending time.

The already interrupted session was then brought to a complete halt with just over five minutes to go under another red flag, after Tuomas Tujula’s Garage 59 Aston Martin Vantage GT3 became beached in the Paddock Hill Bend gravel.

The Finnish driver spun off-track after contact with Oliver Wilkinson, who was taking the inside line into the downhill right-hander aboard his JOTA McLaren 720S GT3.

When the first red flag came out, Goethe held the second-fastest lap behind Henrique Chaves in the Pro-Am Barwell Motorsport Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo.

Reigning International GT Open champion Chaves’ benchmark of 1:25.153 was subsequently beaten by four drivers in the second half, during which Gold and Platinum drivers could join the fray after an opening half-hour reserved for Bronzes and Silvers.

Jim Pla posted the quickest lap time of 1:24.454 aboard the No. 87 AKKA-ASP Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo that the Frenchman shares with Konstantin Tereschenko.

Pla, whose car races in the Silver Cup division, took the overall top spot by 0.236 seconds from his AKKA-ASP teammate Raffaele Marciello in the French outfit’s Pro-category No. 88 machine.

Charles Weerts, who initially ran third behind Chaves and Goethe when the red flags came out, improved to a 1:24.774 which set the WRT driver in third at the end as well.

Jules Gounon registered the next-best time, putting the three AKKA-ASP Mercedes-AMGs in the outright top-four.

Chaves ended up fifth, ahead of Goethe and then Alex Fontana in the No. 14 Emil Frey Racing Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo.

There was also a brief Full Course Yellow caused by Konsta Lappalainen’s Emil Frey Lamborghini Huracan stopping on the right-side before Druids, and a wild off-track moment for Adam Christodoulou in the RAM Racing Mercedes-AMG at Hawthorns.

RESULTS: Free Practice

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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