Silver Cup driver Juuso Puhakka sprung a surprise by setting the fastest lap of Free Practice 2 for the GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS Sprint Cup season finale at Barcelona.
Puhakka, who shares the No. 2 Toksport WRT Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo with Oscar Tunjo, paced Friday’s 80-minute FP2 session with a time of 1:46.253.
This was challenged in the closing stages by Mercedes factory driver Maro Engel, who vaulted Haupt Racing Team’s No. 4 machine up to second in the order with a 1:46.299 effort, but couldn’t overtake Puhakka who held the top spot by just 0.046 seconds.
The Toksport Mercedes has been on form so far at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya after Tunjo set the Silver Cup pace and lapped third-fastest overall in FP1 this morning.
Third in FP2 was Ricardo Feller in the No. 14 Emil Frey Racing Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo on a time of 1:46.313.
The top-three cars were separated by less than a tenth of a second, while Emil Frey put up a strong showing with Albert Costa slotting its No. 163 Lamborghini into fourth.
Dominik Baumann’s 1:46.799 flyer was good enough to put the SPS Automotive Performance Mercedes-AMG fifth overall and top of the Pro-Am classification.
Baumann, who led the session’s early minutes, ended up ahead of Ezequiel Companc in the Madpanda Motorsport Silver Cup Mercedes-AMG and Mattia Drudi in the highest-ranked Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo from Attempto Racing.
Friday’s second session passed without incident, while points leaders Dries Vanthoor and Charles Weerts joined the action after missing FP1 due to a change of their Audi chassis.
Their No. 32 Team WRT machine came through in eighth position with Weerts ending up behind Drudi’s Audi and Raffaele Marciello’s AKKA-ASP Mercedes-AMG.
Next up for the GTWC Europe Sprint Cup field is Pre-Qualifying practice tomorrow morning at 9:15 a.m. CEST (3:15 a.m. EST) ahead of qualifying for the first of this weekend’s three 60-minute races.
RESULTS: Free Practice 2