JOTA McLaren hits the front as Barnicoat paces pre-qualifying at Valencia

JOTA McLaren hits the front as Barnicoat paces pre-qualifying at Valencia

Ben Barnicoat sent the #38 JOTA McLaren to the top of the timing screens in pre-qualifying at Valencia. 

The British driver posted a best of 1m32.611s during the first half of the session and remained in situ until the chequered flag. As was the case in free practice the #32 Team WRT Audi was second quickest, this time with Dries Vanthoor at the wheel. Already crowned champion, the Belgian ace lapped 0.136s shy of Barnicoat's benchmark. 

AKKA ASP driver Jules Gounon was the best of the Mercedes-AMG runners in third spot thanks to a 1m32.897s, while Christian Engelhart was just 0.003s further back in the #54 Dinamic Motorsport Porsche. This ensured that four different brands made up the top-four, while a total of seven marques were represented in the top-10. 

Pro-Am honours went to the #188 Garage 59 Aston Martin. Jonny Adam was sixth overall in the car he shares with Alex West, 0.495s off the overall benchmark and 10 places clear of his closest rival. The Silver Cup leader was next, with Arthur Rougier putting the #114 Emil Frey Racing Lamborghini in front of class contenders CMR (#107 Bentley) and Madpanda Motorsport (#90 Mercedes-AMG). 

The most notable absentee from the top of the timing screens was the #88 AKKA ASP Mercedes-AMG, which had previously topped Friday's official test session and free practice on Saturday morning. The car was classified 24th of the 27th runners, though Raffaele Marciello explained that the team had been bedding in brakes and running on full fuel ahead of tomorrow's races. 

The session was briefly red flagged around the half-hour mark after Robin Frijns spun and stalled the #30 Team WRT Audi at turn 8. There was no damage to the car, however, and following assistance from circuit workers the Dutchman was able to return to the pits. 

Qualifying for tomorrow's season-closing races takes place at 15:30 on Saturday afternoon, with both 20-minute sessions running back-to-back. This, as well as Sunday's action, will be broadcast live on the official series website and social media platforms, as well as the GTWorld and GTWorld Français YouTube channels.