Auer keeps Mercedes-AMG on top in Pre-Qualifying

Auer keeps Mercedes-AMG on top in Pre-Qualifying

Lucas Auer kept Mercedes-AMG machinery ahead of the pack in Pre-Qualifying at Brands Hatch. The Austrian ace was a few tenths shy of this morning's Free Practice benchmark, but his 1m23.357s was still more than enough to put the #48 Winward Racing Team MANN-FILTER entry on top. 

Benji Goethe was second quickest aboard the #159 Garage 59 McLaren. The German was 0.161s shy of Auer's best, improving on teammate Tom Gamble's fifth place from this morning. 

After showing well in Free Practice, series newcomers Eliseo Donno and Tom Fleming were even more impressive in Pre-Qualifying. The #71 AF Corse Ferrari finished third overall and comfortably clear of its nearest Silver Cup rival. Donno set the time – a 1m23.533s – while Fleming also looks fast, suggesting the kind of balanced line-up that tends to succeed in Silver. 

Jules Gounon was fourth quickest in the #9 Boutsen VDS Mercedes-AMG, remaining towards the front after topping Free Practice, while Mattia Drudi made it four brands in the top five at the wheel of the #7 Comtoyou Racing Aston Martin. A little further back, Valentino Rossi produced a strong recovery from his earlier accident to place ninth overall in the #46 Team WRT BMW. 

Racing Team Turkey moved to the top of the Gold Cup order. Charlie Eastwood was 10th overall in the #51 Ferrari, which he shares with Salih Yoluç, two spots clear of class rival Gilles Magnus (#25 Saintéloc Racing Audi). 

While the morning session featured two red flags, there was no such interruption to Pre-Qualifying. Christopher Haase went off at the very end of proceedings – a rare sight indeed for the vastly experienced Audi pilot – but with the chequered flag about to fly there was no need for a caution. 

Cars will be back on-track at 16:10 BST for Qualifying. The usual Sprint Cup format will be used, albeit with each session reduced to 10 minutes in 2024. Q1 will set the grid for tomorrow's opening race (11:00) while Q2 establishes the order for the second (16:00). 

> Results: Pre-Qualifying