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Marciello Tops Night Pre-Quali as Mercedes Form Continues

Marciello on top as AMGs run 1-2-3 in Friday night Pre-Qualifying at Magny-Cours…

Photo: Dirk Bogaerts/SRO

Mercedes-AMG entries continued to lead the way at Magny-Cours as cars from the German manufacturer finished first, second and third in Pre-Qualifying for this weekend’s GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS Sprint Cup round.

Raffaele Marciello set the fastest lap in the No. 88 AKKA-ASP Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo after the Italian finished second to HRT Mercedes driver Maro Engel in Free Practice.

Marciello’s effort came early in the session along with a 1:37.031 from Jim Pla in the No. 89 AKKA-ASP Silver Cup car which put the French team on course for a one-two result.

However, a late sub-1m 37s improvement from Juuso Puhakka in the No. 2 Toksport WRT Mercedes split the two ASP cars and established a new Silver class leader.

Fourth-quickest, and best of the non-Mercedes drivers, was Frederic Vervisch in the No. 66 Attempto Racing Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo.

The Belgian recorded a time of 1:37.043 an hour into the 80-minute session, marking one of few top 10 improvements made during the second half of proceedings after most flying laps came through in the opening half-hour.

Vervisch slotted in ahead of Simon Gachet in the No. 26 Sainteloc Racing Audi and Dries Vanthoor in the No. 32 Audi from Team WRT.

Luca Stolz kept the Free Practice-topping HRT Mercedes in the frame with the seventh-best time overall, while the two Emil Frey Racing Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evos placed eighth and ninth courtesy of Giacomo Altoe and Mikael Grenier.

Kelvin van der Linde rounded out the top 10 in the No. 31 WRT Audi.

Pre-Qualifying was brought to a halt a couple of minutes earlier than intended after a slow car on track brought out the red flags.

Next up for the Sprint Cup field is qualifying for tomorrow evening’s first race of the weekend. The 20-minute session is due to start at 2:40 p.m. local time (8:40 a.m. EST).

RESULTS: Pre-Qualifying

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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