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Intercontinental GT Challenge

Van der Linde Quickest in Bathurst Night Practice

Audis lead every Friday practice session as Kelvin van der Linde goes fastest; accident for Supabarn…

Photo: Mark Horsburgh

Kelvin van der Linde topped the night practice session for the Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour with a time of 2:03.957 behind the wheel of the No. 74 Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo II.

Van der Linde became the first driver of the event to break the two-minute, four-second threshold in favorable dry track conditions on Friday evening.

The South African, who scaled the leaderboard just before the half-hour mark, ended up 0.338 seconds ahead of Chaz Mostert in the No. 65 Coinspot-liveried Audi, which like the No. 74 Valvoline car is being run by the Melbourne Performance Centre team.

However, one of MPC’s six Evo II-spec Audis missed night practice after an accident for Theo Koundouris during the afternoon’s 40-minute Bronze driver session.

The driver of the Supabarn-backed R8 made contact with the right-side wall at Reid Park, leaving his car with notable damage to its right-rear corner.

Another casualty during Friday afternoon practice was the No. 888 Triple Eight Racing Engineering Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo, which missed a large part of the session after Prince Jefri Ibrahim went off at Griffins Bend. The Audi incident caused a red flag.

While the Supabarn car missed night practice, the Triple Eight squad turned its Mann-Filter AMG around in time for the 40-minute unrestricted driver session, with Broc Feeney doing all the driving and lapping ninth overall.

The top Mercedes-AMG was the No. 91 Craft-Bamboo Racing example driven by Maro Engel, who made a late 2:04.350 improvement to slot into third ahead of SunEnergy1 Racing driver Jules Gounon.

Markus Winkelhock completed the overall top five in the No. 777 Audi Sport Team Valvoline car that set the pace on Friday afternoon in the hands of Ricardo Feller.

An early red flag caused night practice to be extended by five minutes, with debris at the Chase noted as the cause.

Melbourne Performance Centre Audis have led all four sessions at Bathurst far, with Mostert’s co-driver Liam Talbot pacing Practice 3 with a time of 2:06.217.

Track action continues on Friday with a pair of practice sessions leading into qualifying and the Top 10 Shootout to determine the grid for Sunday’s 12-hour race.

RESULTS: Practice 3 / Practice 4 (night)

Daniel Lloyd is a UK-based reporter for Sportscar365, covering the FIA World Endurance Championship, Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, among other series.

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