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Niederhauser Keeps Sainteloc Audi On Top in Pre-Qualifying

Sainteloc stays on top of Misano times as Niederhauser leads Pre-Quali with Audis on pace…

Photo: Patrick Hecq/SRO

Sainteloc Junior Team’s No. 25 Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo II led both of Friday’s practice sessions at Misano as Patric Niederhauser set the pace in Pre-Qualifying.

The Swiss driver kept the French team at the top of the times after his Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS Sprint Cup co-driver Aurelien Panis went quickest in Free Practice.

Niederhauser couldn’t quite match the 1:31.625 benchmark from Panis, but the Audi Sport factory driver still led the 80-minute Pre-Qualifying run with a 1:31.694 attempt.

He finished 0.113 seconds ahead of Dries Vanthoor, who placed second for Team WRT.

Audis finished first, second, third and fourth as the pair of Tresor by Car Collection machines came through with almost identical times.

Christopher Haase posted a 1:31.966 in the No. 11 Car Collection R8, initially knocking his teammate Mattia Drudi out of second place by one-thousandth of a second.

Vanthoor’s improvement in the second half of the session then pushed Haase down to third and Drudi to fourth.

The highest non-Audi entry was the Siler Cup-leading LP Racing Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo driven by Jonathan Cecotto.

LP started Pre-Qualifying as a Pro-Am competitor and also set the pace in that category during Free Practice, but it was adjusted to Silver during the second Friday session.

Cecotto registered a time of 1:31.970, putting the No. 888 Lamborghini 0.363 seconds clear of the No. 53 AF Corse Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo 2020 that finished second in Silver.

Seven Audis ended up in the overall top 10 as the other two Pro-class cars from WRT took seventh and eighth, with Attempto Racing’s No. 99 car in tenth behind the Imperiale Racing Lamborghini.

The fastest Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo in Pre-Qualifying was the title-contending No. 89 Akkodis ASP car down in 15th, almost one second off the outright pace.

It stood one position below the No. 111 JP Motorsport McLaren 720S GT3, which was the leading Pro-Am car at the end of the session in 14th.

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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