Sainteloc Racing led the way in this morning's opening practice run at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, with Arthur Rougier posting a 1m45.457s during the first half of the 80-minute session.
The Audi squad is a dark horse for the Sprint Cup title and made the ideal start to its final push at the Spanish circuit. Rougier, who shares the #25 machine with Christopher Haase, was 0.168s clear of the opposition when the chequered flag fell,
Silver Cup crews filled positions two through four, led by the #14 Emil Frey Racing Lamborghini of Ricardo Feller. The Swiss youngster is deputising for Norbert Siedler this weekend and made an impressive start to proceedings with a 1m45.625s. Next was the #2 Toksport WRT Mercedes-AMG of Oscar Tunjo, who alongside Juuso Puhakka remains an outside contender for his class title this weekend.
The the class-leading #26 Sainteloc Audi finished fourth overall and third among the Silver runners. Simon Gachet posted the lap early in the session and remained within 0.211s of Rougier's benchmark at the end. The #31 Belgian Audi Club Team WRT entry completed the top-five with Kelvin van der Linde at the wheel.
Eddie Cheever III set the best Pro-Am time in the #93 Sky Tempesta Racing Ferrari, ending the session eighth overall and well clear of his nearest class contender. Cheever and teammate Chris Froggatt enjoy a strong points lead and can wrap up the Pro-Am title tomorrow.
All but one of this weekend's 21-car field participated in the session. The lone absentee was signifiant, as the #32 Belgian Audi Club Team WRT squad was forced to sit out FP1 following a crash in yesterday's official test. The damage was extensive enough that a new car has been dispatched and should arrive in time for FP2.
The second session gets underway at 14.50 CET, giving competitors another 80 minutes of running. Saturday will begin with pre-qualifying at 09.15, followed by the opening qualifying session (12.50) and race (17.15). Sunday will be the deciding day of the Sprint Cup season, with back-to-back qualifying sessions at 09.00 followed by one-hour races at 12.25 and 16.30.
From Saturday onwards, all of the action will be streamed live on the official GT World Challenge Europe website and Facebook pages, as well as the GT World YouTube channel.