Sheldon van der Linde and BMW Team Schnitzer set the pace in a mixed-condition Night Practice on Thursday evening as official on-track action for the Kyalami 9 Hour got underway.
The South African driver posted a best time of 1:42.942 midway through the 90-minute session in the No. 42 BMW M6 GT3 that he shares with Augusto Farfus and Martin Tomczyk.
It put him 0.181 seconds clear of the Audi Sport Team Land car which showed improved pace in the night session after both Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evos had significantly struggled for pace during the day’s four hours of paid test running.
Michael Christensen put the GPX Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R third, making it three different manufacturers in the top three positions, ahead of the Frikadelli Racing Porsche and WRT Audi.
The 90-minute session began in damp conditions before drying out, which saw the pace-setting times posted.
Rain, however, returned later in the evening, preventing drivers from improving times as darkness fell on the Johannesburg circuit.
The session ran relatively incident-free but a crash for Valentin Pierburg led to heavy damage on SPS Automotive Performance’s Am class Mercedes-AMG GT3.
GruppeM Racing’s lead Mercedes that carries points leader Maxi Buhk didn’t set any lap times after a heavy shunt for Maro Engel during the afternoon’s test session, with the Hong Kong-flagged team working hard to repair the car in time for qualifying.
Group National entrant Stradale Motorsport took its Lamborghini Huracan GT3 out for a shakedown in the final ten minutes of the session after also picking up damage earlier in the day.
Track action continues on Friday morning with Pre-Qualifying at 10:50 a.m. local time (3:50 a.m. EST / 8:50 a.m. GMT) for an additional 1 hour and 45 minutes of running ahead of qualifying.
RESULTS: Free Practice