Audi Sport Team Car Collection driver Christopher Haase set the fastest lap during Thursday evening’s Free Practice session for the Kyalami 9 Hour on Saturday.
Haase, who is sharing the No. 44 Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo with Patric Niederhauser and Mattia Drudi, led the 90-minute practice run into the darkness with a time of 1:42.840.
This put the German driver 0.213 seconds ahead of Sheldon van der Linde who placed second in the No. 34 Walkenhorst Motorsport BMW M6 GT3.
While Haase led the way in the first official track session for the Intercontinental GT Challenge powered by Pirelli season finale, the fastest lap of the day outright was a 1:42.697 from GPX Racing Porsche driver Matt Campbell during a paid testing run.
Campbell’s co-driver Patrick Pilet also set the provisional fastest lap of Free Practice in the session’s early stages, before being eclipsed by van der Linde and then Haase whose effort on the Car Collection Audi’s ninth tour was good enough to lead until the end.
Third-quickest was Audi factory driver Kelvin van der Linde who clocked in at 1:43.096 aboard the No. 31 Audi Sport Team WRT machine.
The top seven cars all finished within half a second of the overall pace with Dylan Pereira running fourth in Team Perfect Circle’s Pro-Am Lechner Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R and Earl Bamber completing the top five for fellow Porsche outfit Dinamic Motorsport.
Jules Gounon placed sixth in the best of the M-Sport Bentley Continental GT3s on a time of 1:43.338, while WRT’s other Audi was seventh with Mirko Bortolotti at the helm.
The No. 8 M-Sport Bentley, the factory-run Honda NSX GT3 Evo and the GPX Racing Porsche completed the top ten. The Porsche’s representative time ultimately came from Campbell after the Australian shaved a couple of tenths off Pilet’s opening effort.
Free Practice ran without any Full Course Yellow or red flag interruptions. Next up for the IGTC field is Pre-Qualifying practice which starts tomorrow at 9:45 a.m. (2:45 a.m. ET).
RESULTS: Free Practice