Raffaele Marciello laid down a marker ahead of this weekend's Sprint Cup title decider by pacing Pre-Qualifying by a sizeable margin.
The Akkodis ASP driver, who leads the overall standings alongside teammate Timur Boguslavskiy, was fastest for much of the 80-minute session. He was beaten by the #60 VSR Lamborghini of Andrea Caldarelli during the latter stages, but responded with a 1m43.625s, putting him more than four tenths of a second clear of his rival.
Marciello will tackle tomorrow morning's qualifying session in the #88 Mercedes-AMG, where the bonus point for taking pole position would be an important step towards the Sprint Cup crown.
P2 represented a solid performance from Caldarelli, who along with Marco Mapelli is making his second Sprint outing of the season for VSR. Third place overall went to Jordan Love, who was particularly impressive at the wheel of the #77 HRT Mercedes-AMG. The Australian led the Silver Cup class, beating his title rivals from Tresor Attempto Racing by six spots.
Fourth overall went to the #40 Tresor Orange 1 Audi, which represents the closest challenger to Marciello/Boguslasvkiy this weekend. The #46 Team WRT BMW of Maxime Martin completed the top five, while its sister car – the title-chasing #32 BMW – was 13th.
The best of the Gold Cup runners was Gilles Magnus. The #21 Comtoyou Racing Audi completed the overall top 10 and was two places better than the rival #26 Saintéloc Junior Team Audi.
This afternoon's session was staged in treacherous conditions, with high winds and rain hitting the circuit. Despite this, there was no red flag during the 80-minute run as drivers rose to the challenge posed by the Dutch weather.
The next track session is Qualifying 1, which is scheduled for 09:35 CEST on Saturday morning. This will mark the start of live TV coverage from the circuit, which will be streamed on the GT World YouTube channel.