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Boccolacci Paces Red Flag-Disrupted Free Practice at Ricard

Sainteloc Audi leads opening practice for GTWC Europe title decider at Paul Ricard…

Photo: SRO

Dorian Boccolacci set the pace in a red flag-affected Free Practice session for the GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS Endurance Cup final round at Paul Ricard.

Boccolacci, who shares the No. 25 Sainteloc Racing Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo with Markus Winkelhock and Christopher Haase, led the way with a time of 1:54.487.

The Frenchman driving for a French team ended up 0.254 seconds ahead of the second-placed No. 4 Haupt Racing Team Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo of Maro Engel.

Mathieu Jaminet was third in the title-contending No. 12 GPX Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R on a time of 1:54.892, while Frederic Vervisch rose to fourth late in the session aboard the No. 66 Attempto Racing Audi that finished second in the Total 24 Hours of Spa.

Maximilian Buhk, who is standing in for Felipe Fraga in the points-leading AKKA-ASP Mercedes-AMG crew for this weekend’s title decider, completed the overall top five.

The 90-minute Saturday morning Free Practice run was interrupted by two red flag stoppages that consumed around 17 minutes of track time.

The first occurred when Sainteloc Racing’s Am Cup-class Audi struck the left-side wall at the exit of the final corner, while the second came a few minutes later when K-PAX Racing Bentley driver Rodrigo Baptista lost control coming onto the Mistral Straight.

Baptista’s Bentley spun out to the left and made contact with the tire barriers.

Team Parker Racing’s Silver Cup Bentley also hit trouble when Frank Bird brought the car to a halt at the side of the track with smoke coming from the engine compartment.

The quickest time in Silver Cup was set by Aurelien Panis in the Lexus RC F GT3 prepared by Tech 1 Racing.

Panis narrowly beat Orange 1 FFF Racing Team Lamborghini driver Taylor Proto to the top spot in class by only 0.046 seconds.

British GT champion Sandy Mitchell paced the Pro-Am division with a 1:55.083 flyer in Barwell Motorsport’s No. 78 Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo.

CMR’s No. 108 Bentley Continental GT3 was the only Am Cup car to set a time following the accident for Sainteloc’s No. 26 Audi in the early stages.

Next up for the Endurance Cup field is Pre-Qualifying practice taking place at 1:15 p.m CET (7:15 a.m. ET).

RESULTS: Free Practice

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

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