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GT World Challenge Europe

Gounon Sets Fastest Lap of Official Test on Second Day

Mercedes-AMG’s Jules Gounon paces official pre-season test for AKKA-ASP…

Photo: Dirk Bogaerts/SRO

Mercedes-AMG factory driver Jules Gounon set the pace on day two of the official Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS pre-season test at Paul Ricard to come away with the fastest lap of the event.

Gounon posted a time of 1:52.960 in the early stages of Friday’s morning session on board the No. 88 AKKA-ASP Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo that he will share with Daniel Juncadella and Thursday afternoon pace-setter Raffaele Marciello in Endurance Cup.

The former Bentley factory driver, who joined Mercedes at the start of this year, eclipsed Frederic Vervisch’s table-topping effort from Thursday by a fine 0.064-second margin.

The only other competitor to beat Vervisch on day two was the Belgian’s Sainteloc Racing Audi teammate Alexandre Cougnaud, who slotted into second overall on a 1:53.027.

Matteo Cairoli led the three-hour Friday afternoon spell, setting a time of 1:53.479 behind the wheel of the No. 54 Dinamic Motorsport Porsche 911 GT3 R.

It capped a strong test for the Italian, who placed in the top five in three sessions including both segments on Friday.

Cairoli lapped five-hundredths of a second quicker than Simon Gachet in AKKA-ASP’s Silver Cup Mercedes-AMG to lead the fourth and final session of the event.

Vervisch ended up third on Friday afternoon to ensure Sainteloc Racing had at least one of its two Pro-class Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evos in the top-five on every leaderboard. The same statistic also applied to AKKA-ASP’s leading No. 88 Mercedes-AMG.

Iron Lynx Ferrari driver Davide Rigon and Vervisch finished fourth and fifth in the morning, while Valentin Hasse-Clot in Garage 59’s Aston Martin Vantage GT3 and Russell Ward in Winward Racing’s Mercedes-AMG occupied the same positions after lunch.

Sky-Tempesta Racing’s Ferrari did not return to the track on Friday after an incident on day one which resulted in the opening session being cut short by around half an hour.

CMR joined the field on day two with its Bentley Continental GT3 after skipping Thursday’s running due to an overlapping test at Magny-Cours earlier this week.

Toksport WRT’s No. 6 Mercedes-AMG did not feature on Friday due to its drivers Maro Engel and Luca Stolz heading to the Nürburgring for tomorrow’s NLS season-opener.

Lamborghini’s offering for SRO Motorsports Group’s GT2 formula and an Audi R8 LMS GT2 turned laps during the second day of the test for Balance of Performance evaluations.

RESULTS: Session 3 / Session 4 

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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