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Marciello Leads ASP Mercedes 1-2-3 in Brands Free Practice

Strong start to Brands Hatch weekend for Akkodis ASP as Marciello tops Free Practice…

Photo: Dirk Bogaerts/SRO

Raffaele Marciello topped a one-two-three result for the Akkodis ASP Team Mercedes-AMG squad during Free Practice for the Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS Sprint Cup season-opener at Brands Hatch.

The Swiss driver reeled off a time of 1:22.037 to pace the 60-minute session in the No. 89 Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo that he shares with Timur Boguslavskiy.

Marciello was joined at the sharp end of the 26-car order by his teammate Jules Gounon in the sister No. 88 machine, with two-tenths separating the Mercedes-AMG factory duo.

Thomas Drouet completed ASP’s strong start to the two-day event by ending up third overall with a time of 1:22.319 aboard the French team’s Silver Cup-leading vehicle.

The best non-Mercedes effort was the 1:22.365 from Christopher Mies that set the No. 33 Team WRT Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo II in fourth position.

Ulysse de Pauwcompleted the overall top five at the wheel of the Silver-class No. 53 Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo 2020 run by AF Corse.

De Pauw finished above a cohort of eight Audis, fronted by the No. 32 WRT example that features defending Sprint Cup champions Dries Vanthoor and Charles Weerts.

The first half of Free Practice was reserved for Bronze and Silver-rated drivers. The leader during that segment was Benjamin Goethe in the No. 30 WRT Audi, however the leaderboard shuffled around significantly when the Golds and Platinums stepped in.

The session passed without any notable incidents until the final moments when reigning Pro-Am champion Miguel Ramos went off at Paddock Hill Bend, the Portuguese driver’s McLaren 720S GT3 nudging the barriers and continuing.

Additionally, the No. 11 Tresor by Car Collection Audi of Christopher Haase stopped at Graham Hill Bend with an unspecified issue.

Valentino Rossi also had a moment at the Graham Hill left-hander, the WRT driver rotating his Audi in the early stages of the session before carrying on without issue.

A 60-minute Pre-Qualifying practice session is due to take place at 12:25 p.m. local time (7:25 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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