Sainteloc Racing Audi driver Frederic Vervisch set the pace on the opening day of official Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS pre-season testing at Paul Ricard.
The 2019 Nürburgring 24 winner posted a time of 1:53.034 during the morning session which stood as the best overall effort through to the end of Thursday’s seven-hour split stretch.
Vervisch, who drove for Attempto Racing last season, is sharing the No. 26 Sainteloc Racing Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo with Finlay Hutchison.
Their GTWC Europe Endurance Cup co-driver Markus Winkelhock is not at Paul Ricard owing to his participation in this weekend’s NLS season-opener at the Nürburgring.
Second-quickest on day one of the two-day test was Raffaele Marciello, who set the pace in the afternoon session aboard AKKA-ASP’s No. 88 Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo.
The Italian registered a 1:53.133 which put him just under a tenth of a second off Vervisch’s outright time.
Another Sainteloc Racing driver in Christopher Haase ended up third-fastest on the opening day as the French Audi squad locked out the top two times in session one.
Sainteloc’s cars ran half a second clear of the rest of the field in the morning, with Marciello’s co-driver Jules Gounon lapping third in-session and fifth overall.
The afternoon run saw Maro Engel place second in a Toksport WRT Mercedes-AMG, behind Marciello. Engel’s time of 1:53.581 ended up being the fourth-best of the day.
Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo 2020s appeared in the top-five of each session, with the Pro-Am No. 52 AF Corse machine and the No. 71 Iron Lynx car each running high in the order.
Dinamic Motorsport’s Pro-class Porsche 911 GT3 R appeared in the top five of session two courtesy of Matteo Cairoli.
The first session was brought to a premature halt around 30 minutes earlier than planned after Sky-Tempesta Racing’s Ferrari went off-course to trigger a red flag. This resulted in the start of the afternoon session being brought forward in compensation.
No major incidents were reported in the second session. A further seven hours of split track action is planned for tomorrow, starting at 9 a.m. local time (4 a.m. EST).