Blancpain GT World Challenge Europe title-chasers Orange1 FFF Racing topped opening practice at the Nurburgring thanks to a rapid lap by Marco Mapelli in the #563 Lamborghini.
The #563 crew of Mapelli and Andrea Caldarelli enter the season's penultimate round second in the standings, behind the #4 Black Falcon Mercedes-AMG, and will be buoyed by their immediate speed at the 5.1km German track.
Mapelli moved to the top of the times with 15 minutes left on the clock, posting a 1m55.712 to edge ahead of the #88 AKKA ASP Mercedes-AMG. The French squad is also part of the championship battle – albeit a little further back than FFF – and made an excellent start as Raffaele Marciello circulated just 0.062s slower than Mapelli.
The #1 Belgian Audi Club Team WRT machine driven by Ezequiel Perez Companc was third quickest, leading a quintet of the Ingolstadt marque's representatives. Fifth overall and the fastest Silver Cup entrant was Rik Breukers in the #10 Belgian Audi Club Team WRT effort. Indeed, the Dutch driver was less than two tenths shy of Mapelli's overall best.
The top Am Cup runner was the #111 Kessel Racing Ferrari, which showed impressive pace in the hands of Rory Penttinen to finish 19th overall. That was one place in front of the leading Pro-Am effort, which came from Jim Pla in the #87 AKKA ASP Mercedes-AMG he shares with Mauro Ricci.
The session was interrupted by two short red flag periods: the first was caused by the #62 R-Motorsport Aston Martin and the second by the #24 Sainteloc Racing Audi, which had Stephane Ortelli at the wheel when it spun into the gravel. The Monegasque has a new teammate this weekend, with single-seater convert Dorian Boccaolacci making his maiden GT outing with the French squad.
Second practice gets underway at 14.35, followed on Saturday by qualifying and the opening one-hour race. The concluding run will take place on Sunday afternoon.
> FP1 Result