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Marciello leads official testing at Misano as Sprint Cup prepares for 2020 season launch

6 August 2020

GT World Challenge Europe Powered by AWS cars were on-track today at Misano, with four hours of official testing signalling the start of activities at the Italian venue. 

The season-opening Sprint Cup contest will feature 23 cars, the majority of which participated in Thursday's session. The #88 AKKA ASP Mercedes-AMG ended the day at the top of order thanks to a late lap from Raffaele Marciello. A two-time pole-sitter at Misano, the Italian posted a 1m32.213s to edge out the #32 Belgian Audi Club Team WRT machine of Dries Vanthoor (1m32.394s). 

The sister #31 WRT Audi completed the top-three thanks to Kelvin van der Linde (1m32.442s), followed by the Tech 1 Racing Lexus. Aurelien Panis posted a best of 1m32.538s in the #15 machine to record the fourth-best time overall, while also leading the Silver Cup runners. The best Pro-Am car was the #93 Sky Tempesta Racing Ferrari, with Eddie Cheever III lapping in 1m33.084s and placing eighth overall.

As well as the GT World Challenge Europe Powered by AWS runners, cars from the supporting Lamborghini Super Trofeo also participated in the test. Full session times can be viewed via the link at the bottom of this page.

The final entry list has also been confirmed for the event. In a change to the originally-published version, Arthur Rougier will compete for Sainteloc Racing in the #25 Audi R8 LMS. The young Frenchman will link up with the experienced Christopher Haase to compete as a full-pro crew, while all other line-ups remain unchanged.

A host of new and returning teams are present for this weekend's Sprint Cup opener. HRT, ERC Sport, SPS Automotive Performance and TokSport WRT will all compete with Mercedes-AMG equipment, while Emil Frey Racing (Lamborghini) and CMR (Bentley) will each add two cars.

Preparations will continue tomorrow (Friday 7 August) with 80-minute free practice sessions at 13.10 and 18.35, while an additional pre-qualifying session will run on Saturday morning, also lasting for 80 minutes. 

The action moves up a gear on Saturday afternoon, with a pair of qualifying sessions running back-to-back from 13.20. These will set the grid for the opening two races, the first of which begins at 19.15 and concludes just as the sun sets. At 09.00 on Sunday another qualifying session will run, establishing the grid for the weekend's third race. Race two gets underway at 11.20, while the final contest starts at 15.00. 

From Saturday afternoon's qualifying onwards, all sessions will be streamed live on the GT World Challenge Europe website and Facebook pages, as well as the GT World YouTube channel.