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GT World Challenge Europe

Akkodis ASP Quickest Again as Gounon Paces Pre-Quali

Gounon puts No. 88 Mercedes on top in second consecutive practice at Imola…

Photo: Mercedes-AMG

Mercedes-AMG Team Akkodis ASP swept the Saturday practice sessions at Imola as Jules Gounon posted the fastest lap in Pre-Qualifying practice for tomorrow’s Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS Endurance Cup race.

Gounon climbed to the top of the leaderboard with a time of 1:40.164, beating the 1:40.298 that his co-driver Raffaele Marciello produced to set the pace in Free Practice.

Gounon went quickest a couple of minutes before the half-hour mark in the 90-minute Pre-Qualifying session, which ran without any noteworthy incidents.

Akkodis ASP remained on top until the end, but several other cars improved to shake up the order of cars behind the No. 88 Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo.

Maro Engel made it an AMG one-two by producing a 1:40.222 in the No. 2 Mercedes-AMG Team GetSpeed machine, leaving 0.058 seconds between the front-running pair.

Sainteloc Junior Team was the top Audi outfit in third, courtesy of a 1:40.238 from factory driver Christopher Mies.

Identical 1:40.401 numbers were set by the Attempto Racing Audis in third and fourth.

The German squad’s No. 66 car driven by Dennis Marschall produced its time first, giving it the edge over Nicolas Schoell’s No. 99 Silver Cup machine.

Marschall went on to make an improvement, which would have been the fastest lap overall by 0.017 seconds, but his attempt was deleted due to a track limits infringement.

Early pacesetter Nicki Thiim ranked sixth at the end after setting a 1:40.430 behind the wheel of the No. 95 Beechdean AMR Aston Martin Vantage GT3.

He was followed in the order by Gold Cup class leader Frederik Schandorff in the Inception Racing McLaren 720S GT3, Kelvin van der Linde in the No. 32 Team WRT Audi and Dennis Lind driving the No. 111 JP Motorsport McLaren.

The next GTWC Europe track session at Imola is qualifying, which takes place at 9 a.m. local time (3 a.m. ET) on Sunday morning.

RESULTS: Pre-Qualifying

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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