Maro Engel paced free practice ahead of this weekend's Sprint Cup contest at Magny-Cours. The HRT driver posted a 1m26.694s lap at the wheel of his #4 Mercedes-AMG to edge into top spot by just 0.050s.
Engel's best effort came during the final few minutes of the 80-minute session and toppled the #88 AKKA ASP Mercedes-AMG, which had been quickest in the hands of both Timur Boguslavskiy and later Raffaele Marciello. A winner last time out at Misano, the #88 also topped last night's official testing session at Magny-Cours.
It had appeared that Mercedes would lock out the top three positions, only for Giancarlo Fisichella to go third-quickest late in the session. The former grand prix ace makes his first GT World Challenge Europe Powered by AWS appearance of the season this weekend, sharing the #92 Sky Tempesta Racing Ferrari with Jonathan Hui. The pairing also topped the Pro-Am class, while fourth-placed Oscar Tunjo led the Silver Cup order in the #2 Toksport WRT Mercedes-AMG.
22 of the 23 cars entered for this weekend's event were on-track during free practice. The #108 CMR Bentley was absent following a fire during testing, with the team looking to be back in action for tonight's pre-qualifying. Full results from free practice can be accessed via the link at the bottom of this page.
The after-dark session begins at 21:15 and, like free practice, runs for 80 minutes. Live streaming will begin on Saturday, with qualifying for race one set to get underway at 14:40. The opening 60-minute contest will take place under the lights ay 22:15. There will be little time to rest on Saturday night, with qualifying for race two going green at 08.30 on Sunday morning, while the closing contest will get underway at 13:45.
The GT World Challenge Europe Powered by AWS action forms part of packed weekend that will see eight different series stage no fewer than 19 races. The GT3 category shares the headline slot with FFSA French GT Championship, while Porsche Carrera Cup France and Formula Renault Eurocup are also among the all-star cast.