Marciello keeps Akkodis ASP Mercedes-AMG on top in Brands Hatch pre-qualifying

Marciello keeps Akkodis ASP Mercedes-AMG on top in Brands Hatch pre-qualifying

Akkodis ASP remained on top in pre-qualifying at Brands Hatch thanks to another pace-setting performance from Raffaele Marciello in the #89 Mercedes-AMG.

The Italian further enhanced his claim to be the fastest man over a single lap by posting a 1m21.889s, a time that was not seriously threatened during the 60-minute session. The closest competition came from the sister #88 car driven by Jules Gounon, who was 0.215s shy of Marciello.

The two Mercedes were followed by a trio of Audi entries. The #11 Tresor by Car Collection machine led the way thanks to Christopher Haase, who was 0.321s off Marciello's pace. He was followed by the #32 Team WRT and #25 Saintéloc Junior Team cars respectively. 

Besides Marciello, the most impressive performance of the session came from Ben Barker, who put the #78 Barwell Motorsport Lamborghini sixth overall and a very comfortable leader in the Pro-Am class. The Brit has driven alone thus far due as crew-mate Alex Malykhin remains too unwell to get behind the wheel. 

Next on the timing screens was the #53 AF Corse Ferrari, which moved to the top of the Silver Cup order thanks to another strong showing from the duo of Ulysse de Pauw and Pierre Alexandre Jean. On this ocassion it was Jean who posted the best time: a 1m22.364s.

The session was stopped by a pair of red flags, the first coming shortly before the halfway point when the #99 Audi made contact with the barriers at Paddock Hill Bend. Nicholas Schöll was at the wheel of the Attempto Racing machine, which suffered minor damage in the incident. The stoppage was not long, however, with only minor work required to repair the barriers.  

The second was caused by Valentino Rossi, who spun the #46 Team WRT Audi into the gravel at Stirlings with a little under 20 minutes left on the clock. The car was recovered and the Italian was able to return to the pits under his own power.   

With preparations complete, drivers will be back on-track at 15:50 for qualifying. A pair of 20-minute sessions will decide the grid for tomorrow's races, which get underway at 11:25 and 16:45.