Mercedes-AMG’s Tristan Vautier topped the time charts in the first Paid Practice session ahead of this weekend’s Suzuka 10 Hours, after posting the fastest time during a largely dry first 15 minutes.
A short but very sharp shower, which even necessitated a brief stoppage, ensured no-one came close to toppling the GruppeM Racing driver’s 2:10.530 lap.
The No. 43 Strakka Racing Mercedes was half-a-second behind courtesy of Maxi Goetz, while the first of the non-Intercontinental GT Challenge entries, HubAuto Corsa’s Ferrari 488 GT3 driven by David Perel, completed the top-three another 0.5 seconds further back.
Strakka’s second Pro-entered Mercedes-AMG, Team Absolute Racing’s Audi R8 LMS and the Porsche of D’station Racing rounded out the top-six.
The inclement weather, which resulted in today’s scheduled city center parade being cancelled, persisted for much of the afternoon’s track action.
However, with the weather system set to clear in the coming hours, it’s hoped drier conditions will greet teams and drivers Friday morning when the second Paid Practice session begins at 9:40 a.m. local time.