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GT World Challenge Europe

Toksport Mercedes Leads Pre-Qualifying Practice

Mercedes-AMGs on form in Brands practice as Stolz sets fastest lap of Pre-Qualifying…

Photo: Patrick Hecq/SRO

Mercedes-AMG Team Toksport WRT driver Luca Stolz set the fastest lap during Pre-Qualifying practice for the Brands Hatch Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS Sprint Cup round.

Stolz steered his and Maro Engel’s No. 6 Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo to a time of 1:24.918, as one of four drivers in the session to break 1m 25s around the 2.43-mile GP circuit.

The German racer filed his best attempt shortly before the halfway mark of the 60-minute session, which ran trouble-free until a red flag with six minutes remaining.

Giorgio Roda spun his and Chris Froggatt’s Sky-Tempesta Racing Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo 2020 deep into the gravel at Stirlings after losing the rear-end upon entry.

The car’s recovery prompted an early halt to proceedings, but it was nonetheless a much cleaner session than Free Practice in the morning which featured a lengthy red flag.

Stolz ended up beating Madpanda Motorsport Mercedes-AMG driver Rik Breukers to the top spot by 0.021 seconds, as AMG GT3 Evos showed up strongly again following a 1-2-4 result for AKKA-ASP in the opening session of the weekend.

Breukers topped the Silver Cup class despite missing out on the overall lead, while fellow Silver competitor Ricardo Feller took third outright with a time of 1:24.953.

Feller’s Emil Frey Racing Lamborghini beat the No. 88 AKKA-ASP Mercedes-AMG of Raffaele Marciello by one-thousandth of a second.

The fastest lap of the event so far remains Jim Pla’s 1:24.454 set during Free Practice.

The AKKA-ASP Silver Cup driver ended up fifth in Pre-Qualifying with a 1:25.243 effort that was registered early on.

Ryuichiro Tomita placed sixth in the Silver Cup No. 31 WRT Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo, while the Belgian squad’s overall points-leading No. 32 Audi was classified 10th.

WRT’s No. 30 car ranked 15th after returning to the track following Benjamin Goethe’s accident in Free Practice.

Henrique Chaves once again set the Pro-Am pace for Lamborghini outfit Barwell Motorsport.

Roda’s excursion marked the only major incident of Pre-Qualifying, which started in fully dry conditions before a few spots of rain developed during the second half.

The only car not to hit the track was the No. 159 Garage 59 Aston Martin Vantage GT3, which spun after contact in the closing stages of Free Practice.

Driver Tuomas Tujula was handed a 10-minute stop and hold penalty to be served at the start of Pre-Qualifying for his role in the tangle with JOTA’s Oliver Wilkinson, but the Aston did not appear at all in the final action spell before qualifying for Sunday’s races.

Pre-Qualifying started at 12:55 p.m., 45 minutes later than planned, due to the timetable delay caused by the Free Practice stoppage.

Qualifying has also been adjusted, with the first of two back-to-back 20-minute sessions now due to start at 3:15 p.m. local time (10:15 a.m. EST).

RESULTS: Pre-Qualifying

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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