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GT World Challenge Europe

Engel Leads Barcelona Free Practice in GetSpeed Mercedes

Maro Engel sets pace in Free Practice for GTWC Europe Endurance Cup season finale…

Photo: Kevin Pecks/SRO

Maro Engel led Saturday morning’s Free Practice session for the Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS Endurance Cup season finale at Barcelona.

The AMG Team GetSpeed driver reeled off a time of 1:44.366 around 20 minutes into the 90-minute session and remained at the top of the 48-car leaderboard until the end.

Engel, who shares the No. 2 Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo with Steijn Schothorst and Luca Stolz, set the pace by 0.311 seconds — a large margin by GTWC Europe standards — over Klaus Bachler in the second-placed No. 54 Dinamic Motorsport Porsche 911 GT3 R.

Bachler went quickest in the early stages of the session with a time of 1:44.677 before Engel came to the fore.

The No. 63 Emil Frey Racing Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo ranked third ahead of six Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo IIs, led by the Silver Cup pace-setting No. 26 Sainteloc Junior Team car driven by Aurelien Panis.

The Endurance Cup points-leading Akkodis ASP Mercedes-AMG ended up 10th in the hands of Raffaele Marciello.

Marciello, Jules Gounon and Daniel Juncadella’s championship rival Antonio Fuoco saw his No. 71 Iron Lynx Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo place 22nd overall, courtesy of a 1:45.764 lap time set by Alessandro Pier Guidi.

Free Practice was red-flagged twice for separate incidents at the Turn 7-8 left-right sequence.

The first stoppage occurred after Christian Klien spun exiting the left-hander, leaving his JP Motorsport McLaren 720S GT3 facing the wrong way in the gravel trap.

The second red flag, with 23 minutes remaining, was caused by Maxime Robin’s No. 33 WRT Audi spearing off to the left as the Frenchman exited Turn 7, resulting in contact with the barriers.

Madpanda Motorsport’s Silver Cup Mercedes-AMG returned to the track after missing Friday’s second paid test session due to repairs from an accident in a test on Friday morning.

Pre-Qualifying practice for the 3 Hours of Barcelona takes place at 1:40 p.m. CEST (7:40 a.m. ET).

RESULTS: Free Practice

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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