Alessio Picariello put the No. 5 Phoenix Racing Audi R8 LMS on top in Free Practice 1 for the Blancpain GT Series Sprint Cup finale at Barcelona, as Steven Kane suffered a big impact with the No. 7 M-Sport Bentley Continental GT3 near the end of the session.
The Belgian driver set a lap time of 1:46.330, beating the time set by Kane before the Brit went off into the barriers at the exit of turn 2.
Having sustained a considerable amount of damage on the front end it’s not clear yet whether the No. 7 Bentley will be able to continue, with co-driver Vincent Abril already indicating that it doesn’t look good.
The Bentley wasn’t the only car to run into trouble in the opening session of the weekend, as Dries Vanthoor parked the No. 4 Belgian Audi Club Team WRT Audi in the tire barriers at turn 4 early on.
Sprint Cup points’ leader Enzo Ide ended up ninth fastest in the No. 33 WRT Audi, two positions and less than one-tenth ahead of his main rivals Maxi Buhk and Dominik Baumann in the No. 84 HTP Motorsport Mercedes-AMG GT3.
Rob Bell, who is in the running for the overall Blancpain GT drivers’ title, only managed to keep one car behind him, ending the session second to last (+4.007s) in the No. 58 Garage 59 McLaren 650S GT3 he shares with Alvaro Parente.
The second free practice session is set for 12:30 p.m. local time, ahead of qualifying later in the afternoon.
RESULTS: Free Practice 1