Raffaele Marciello set the pace in the opening Free Practice session for this weekend’s trio of GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS Sprint Cup races at Misano.
Marciello, who is sharing the No. 88 AKKA-ASP Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo with Timur Boguslavskiy, posted a time of 1:32.116 to lead the 80-minute early afternoon run.
The 2018 Sprint Cup champion led by a margin of 0.238 seconds from series rookie Ryuichiro Tomita in the No. 31 Team WRT Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo.
Experienced Super GT racer Tomita is making his GTWC Europe debut this weekend, partnering Kelvin van der Linde in one of WRT’s three Audi entries.
Andrea Bertolini went third-quickest in the Pro-Am class AF Corse Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo 2020 with a time of 1:32.457, while the best Silver Cup entry ended up fourth overall courtesy of Jim Pla’s 1:32.493 effort aboard the No. 89 AKKA-ASP Mercedes.
Three other cars, including the two other WRT Audis and the Tech 1 Racing Lexus RC F GT3, broke the beam within half a second of Marciello’s pace-setting marker.
Sainteloc Racing’s two Audis were eight and ninth-quickest, while the best of the CMR Bentley Continental GT3s came through in tenth with Jules Gounon at the wheel.
The only notable incident of FP1 was a fire aboard the No. 2 Silver Cup-entered Toksport WRT Mercedes which resulted in a red flag with three minutes left on the clock.
The driver of the Toksport car, which is being piloted by Juuso Puhakka and Oscar Tujo this weekend, climbed out unassisted.
A second 80-minute Free Practice session is scheduled to take place later today at 6:35 p.m. local time (12:35 p.m. EST).
RESULTS: Free Practice 1