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GT World Challenge Europe

Akkodis ASP Fastest Overall as Paul Ricard Test Concludes

Mercedes-AMG squad Akkodis ASP sets overall pace in GTWC Europe official test…

Photo: Jules Benichou/21 Creation

Jules Gounon set the fastest overall lap of the Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS pre-season test for reigning Endurance Cup champion Akkodis ASP.

Gounon posted a time of 1:52.701 to lead Wednesday morning’s four-hour session and also head the combined leaderboard at the end of the two-day event at Paul Ricard.

The Andorran-licensed driver has been sharing the No. 88 Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo with his fellow Endurance Cup title-winner Raffaele Marciello and Timur Boguslavskiy.

After two different Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo IIs set the pace on Tuesday, Mercedes-AMGs hit the front on Wednesday with a one-two result on either side of the lunch break.

Winward Racing finished second behind ASP in the first session, while Maro Engel topped the three-hour afternoon spell with a time of 1:53.423 aboard the Al Manar Racing-badged GetSpeed Performance Mercedes-AMG, beating Marciello by 0.151 seconds.

Audis from Boutsen VDS and CSA Racing ended up third in each Wednesday run, with GetSpeed’s Al Manar car and Manthey Racing’s Porsche 911 GT3 R coming through in fourth.

Gounon’s overall best time ended up beating the Tuesday benchmark of Comtoyou Racing’s Gilles Magnus by almost six-tenths of a second.

Sainteloc Junior Team’s No. 26 Audi completed the most mileage out of the 48 cars that took part in the test, getting 252 laps under its belt.

Teams used the 14 hours of total running, which was peppered with occasional red flags, to work with their driver lineups for the upcoming season and gather data on Pirelli’s updated P Zero DHF tire.

There was also a visit from reigning Formula 1 champion Max Verstappen who attended in support of Emil Frey Racing driver Thierry Vermeulen, the son of his racing manager.

RESULTS: Morning / Afternoon

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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