Dorian Boccolacci put the #25 Sainteloc Racing Audi on top in this morning's opening free practice at Circuit Paul Ricard.
The French squad retains an outside shot at the Endurance Cup title this weekend and showed well in the 90-minute session, which began in misty conditions at 08.00 CET. Boccolacci posted a 1m54.487s lap to lead the way, edging out long-time pacesetter Maro Engel (#4 HRT Mercedes-AMG) by 0.254s during the latter stages.
The #12 GPX Racing Porsche, #66 Attempto Racing Audi and #88 AKKA ASP Mercedes-AMG were next, ensuring that the top-five in free practice was composed of title contenders.
Sandy Mitchell put the #77 Barwell Motorsport Lamborghini sixth overall and at the top of the Pro-Am standings, the young Scot lapping a little over half a second shy of Boccolacci's benchmark. The rival Sky Tempesta Racing Ferrari also showed well, with Eddie Cheever III posting the eighth best time overall.
Thomas Neubauer was 14th overall and the quickest Silver Cup contender in the #15 Tech1 Racing Lexus, closely followed by the #555 Orange1 FFF Racing Lamborghini of Taylor Proto. The #108 CMR Bentley was 36th overall and led the Am Cup order thanks to Stephane Tribaudini.
While Sainteloc's #25 Audi topped the times, the sister car finished at the bottom of the order after an early crash for Fabian Michel ruled the #26 out for the remainder of the session. Indeed, much of the first 30 minutes of running was disrupted by incidents, with Rodrigo Baptista also hitting the barriers in the #3 K-PAX Racing Bentley.
Competitors will be back on-track for pre-qualifying, which runs from 13.15 to 14.45, while the main qualifying session gets underway at 17.20. The season-ending race is scheduled to go green at 11.45 CET on Sunday and will run for 1000km or a maximum of six hours, concluding shortly after sunset. All of the action will be streamed live on the GT World Challenge Europe Powered by AWS website and Facebook page, as well as the GT World YouTube channel.