Jim Pla led an AKKA ASP one-two in free practice at Brands Hatch as Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe Powered by AWS made its long-awaited return to the British venue.
Pla posted a 1m24.454s lap in #87 Mercedes-AMG, 0.236s faster than the sister #88 machine driven by Raffaele Marciello. This ensured that the Frenchman and his crew-mate Konstantin Tereschenko topped both the overall and Silver Cup classifications.
The championship-leading #32 Team WRT Audi was third thanks to a 1m24.774s lap from Charles Weerts, who made a strong start to what could be a title-winning weekend. Jules Gounon very nearly made it an AKKA ASP sweep of the top-three, but ultimately placed fourth in the French squad's #89 Mercedes-AMG, 0.089s shy of Weerts.
Fifth overall went to the Pro-Am pace-setter, Barwell Motorsport. The #77 Lamborghini was impressibly fast in the hands of Henrique Chaves, who posted a 1m25.153s in the #77 Lamborghini. Sixth overall went to the #30 Team WRT Audi, followed by the Silver Cup points leader Alex Fontana (#14 Emil Frey Racing Lamborghini). The Swiss driver was seventh overall and P2 in class, while Silver Cup rival Frank Bird was just 0.026s adrift in the #31 Team WRT Audi.
After a long wait to return to Brands Hatch, there was another delay during the session. The red flag was out for more than an hour after Benji Goethe hit the tyre barrier at Westfield, the impact pitching the car upwards. Goethe was unharmed and the car was swiftly returned to the pits without heavy damage, but repairs to the barrier were lengthy.
The delay has necessitated changes to the remainder of Saturday's timetable: pre-qualifying will now run at 12:55, while qualifying is set to get underway at 15:15. All of the action will be streamed live on GT World YouTube channel and across Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe Powered by AWS platforms.