Sainteloc Racing’s Pro-class Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo set the pace during the first practice session for this weekend’s GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS Sprint Cup finale at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.
Arthur Rougier, who shares the No. 25 Sainteloc Audi with Christopher Haase, posted the fastest overall lap of 1:45.457 in the 80-minute session’s early stages.
The French driver ended up topping the leaderboard by 0.168 seconds from Ricardo Feller in the No. 14 Emil Frey Racing Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo.
Third-quickest in FP1 was Oscar Tunjo in the Silver Cup-class No. 2 Toksport WRT Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo.
The Colombian driver registered a time of 1:45.667 to narrowly beat Simon Gachet in Sainteloc’s Silver Cup Audi by one-thousandth of a second.
Kelvin van der Linde rounded out the top five in the No. 31 Team WRT Audi which, along with the session-leading Sainteloc Audi, is one of several cars in contention for the outright Sprint Cup title this weekend.
Championship leaders Dries Vanthoor and Charles Weerts didn’t take part in the event’s first official track session after their WRT Audi was heavily damaged in an accident during paid testing on Thursday.
The team has been allowed to source a replacement chassis for its No. 32 entry, although it’s unclear when the new car will arrive on-track.
A second 80-minute Free Practice session is due to take place at 2:50 p.m. CEST (8:50 a.m. EST).
RESULTS: Free Practice 1