AKKA ASP led this afternoon's opening practice session at Misano as Raffaele Marciello yet again demonstrated his speed behind the wheel of the #88 Mercedes-AMG GT3.
The 2018 Sprint Cup champion posted his best time of 1m32.114s around the half-way mark of the 80-minute run, edging out the #31 Belgian Audi Club Team WRT machine of Ryuichiro Tomita. The Japanese driver is making his series debut this weekend and showed impressive pace to get within 0.238s of Misano specialist Marciello.
Third overall went to Andrea Bertolini, who also topped the Pro-Am class aboard the #52 AF Corse Ferrari. Bertolini was a further tenth down on the outright pace and just 0.036s clear of the #89 AKKA ASP Mercedes-AMG of Silver Cup leader Jim Pla. A total of four Silver class cars finished among the overall top-10 in FP1, with the #15 Tech 1 Lexus, #33 WRT Audi and #26 Sainteloc Audi also showing strongly. Full session times can be viewed via the link at the bottom of this page.
The vast majority of the session ran without incident, only for a late red flag to end proceedings with three minutes left on the clock. This was caused by a fire aboard the #2 TokSport WRT Mercedes-AMG, though the driver was able to climb out calmly just as safety vehicles arrived on the scene. Earlier, track limits infringements had seen the #66 Attempto Racing Audi, #15 Tech 1 Lexus and #93 Sky Tempesta Ferrari all serve 10-minute stop-go penalties, while the #89 AKKA ASP Mercedes-AMG had to do so twice.
A second 80-minute free practice session begins at 18.35 today, while pre-qualifying will run on Saturday morning at 09.00. 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 grids 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.