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Intercontinental GT Challenge

Engel Leads GruppeM Mercedes 1-2 on Wednesday at Laguna

Maro Engel leads way in Wednesday paid practice action for California 8 Hours…

Photo: Dirk Bogaerts/SRO

Maro Engel led a GruppeM Mercedes-AMG 1-2 in the opening day of track action for Saturday’s California 8 Hours at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.

The German took the No. 888 Mercedes-AMG GT3 to a fast lap of 1:24.233 in Wednesday’s second paid test session for Intercontinental GT Challenge powered by Pirelli competitors.

Engel’s time was 0.361 seconds quicker than the sister No. 999 Mercedes, which was set by reigning Blancpain GT Series champion Raffaele Marciello.

Dennis Olsen’s pace-setting time from the first 90-minute session was good enough for third quickest of the day, in the No. 912 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R.

The Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour winner was two-tenths quicker than the No. 35 KCMG Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3, which set the fourth best time overall and third in the second session.

A third Mercedes, the No. 44 Strakka Racing entry, completed the top-five, which was separated by eight-tenths, with the quickest Audi being the No. 29 Land Motorsport entry in sixth.

GT4, which features three entries this weekend, was led by the No. 41 PF Racing Ford Mustang GT4, which edged out the No. 67 TRG Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport and BMW M4 GT4 entered by RHC Jorgensen.

The only major incident of the day came early in the second session when the No. 107 Bentley Continental GT3 stopped on track with right-front tire damage.

It resulted in a red flag to retrieve the car, in a day punctuated by brief rain showers.

A third paid practice session is on tap for Thursday morning, prior to Free Practice in the afternoon.

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for and SPEED Channel and has contributed to numerous other motorsports publications worldwide. Contact John

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