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SMP Ferrari hits the front in opening Silverstone practice

19 May 2018

The #72 SMP Racing Ferrari has topped the opening Blancpain GT Series free practice session at Silverstone, making a strong start as the crew bids to score pole position at successive Endurance Cup events.

Davide Rigon left it late, but his 1m58.781s edged out the #4 Black Falcon Mercedes-AMG in the closing moments, confirming that the Italian machine has lost none of the one-lap speed it showed at Monza.

Black Falcon also showed that they have retained their pace from the Italian contest, having finished on the podium last time out. They were followed by the Pro-Am class AKKA-Mercedes, with French ace Nico Jamin setting the third-fastest lap of the session.

There was also an impressive turn of speed from another Pro-Am machine – and one of particular local interests – with Seb Morris lapping competitively in the #31 Team Parker-Bentley to end the session in P4.

The fastest Silver Cup entry was the #90 AKKA-Mercedes, while the #77 Barwell-Lamborghini topped the Am Cup classification. Overall it was another close-fought session, with just 1.1s separating the top-20 cars.

There were a handful of minor incidents, though nothing so serious as to warrant a full-course yellow. The #97 Aston Martin and the #911 Porsche both had spins within a few moments of each other, but each was able to recover quickly.

The #114 Emil Frey Lexus parked up, seemingly with technical issues, bringing out the yellow flags in sector 3.

There were then spins for the #72 Ferrari – which was in the hands of Miguel Molina at the time – and the #7 Bentley driven by Steven Kane, both of whom found themselves beached in the gravel. Neither made contact with the barriers, however, with drivers looking for the limit in practice.

The next track action takes place at 16.00, when the 90-minute pre-qualifying session gets underway.