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GT World Challenge Europe

Marciello Takes Top Spot in Valencia Free Practice

Title contender Raffaele Marciello goes quickest in first official track session of Sprint Cup finale…

Photo: Jules Benichou/21 Creation

Raffaele Marciello narrowly beat Christopher Haase to the top spot in Free Practice for the Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS Sprint Cup season finale at Valencia.

The Akkodis ASP driver posted a time of 1:31.742 behind the wheel of the No. 89 Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo, going just nine-thousandths of a second faster than Haase who registered a 1:31.751 in Tresor by Car Collection’s No. 11 Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo II.

Marciello’s attempt came one hour into the 80-minute session, while Haase moved Car Collection up to second around 13 minutes later.

Marciello and his co-driver Timur Boguslavskiy are aiming to overturn an 11.5-point deficit to Team WRT’s Dries Vanthoor and Charles Weerts in the Sprint Cup title battle.

Vanthoor ranked ninth in Free Practice after clocking a 1:31.980 effort.

Dinamic Motorsport had a strong start to the weekend with its two Porsche 911 GT3 Rs, which finished third and fourth respectively.

Christian Engelhart put the Italian squad’s No. 54 car third with a time of 1:31.869, while Klaus Bachler made a late improvement in the No. 56 to sit four-thousandths of a second off his teammate.

Sainteloc Junior Team’s Patric Niederhauser completed the top five in the No. 25 Audi, ahead of Attempto Racing Audi driver Pieter Schothorst.

Schothorst led the session at the halfway mark, which was reserved for Silver and Bronze-rated drivers.

Eddie Cheever III set the pace in the Silver Cup class aboard the Sky-Tempesta Racing Mercedes-AMG, which the Italian drove to seventh-quickest overall.

Pro-Am was led by Dean MacDonald in the points-leading No. 188 Garage 59 McLaren 720S GT3.

Pre-Qualifying practice at Circuit Ricardo Tormo starts at 1:10 p.m. local time (7:10 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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