The action was again fast and furious in the second Free Practice session held this afternoon in readiness for the Baku World Challenge this weekend.
Die Rundenzeiten gingen mit wachsender Erfahrung der Piloten mehr und mehr in den Keller und zeigten das erste Potential des Straßenkurses im Herzen von Baku auf.
Rene Rast set the fastest timer with a stunning 1m43.228s lap, the German scorching around the track to just edge out Markus Winkelhock’s Phoenix acing Audi R8 LMS ultra. The German fought back from a brush with the wall in the earlier free practice session to announce he and his team as contenders for the coveted pole position later this afternoon.
Third fastest was Mike Parisy (FRA) in the #10 Sebastien Loeb Racing McLaren MP4-12C. The Frenchman, who used his natural aptitude for street circuit having grown up in, and raced at, the famous Pau circuit. He shares the McLaren with Austrian team mate, Andreas Zuber.
In the Pro-Am class it was again the #2 HTP Gravity Charouz Mercedes that set the pace. But this time it was Sergei Afanasiev (RUS) who registered the time of 1m45.060s to claim the class position and finish 14th in the overall classification.
The drama was not as frequent as the first session but one red flag flew in the early stages when Rob Bell (GBR) gently nosed in to the tyres at Turn 8. The Hexis Racing McLaren MP4-12C recovered to finish the session in sixth position overall.
The big news from the session came from the stewards room where Edward Sandström (SWE) was penalised for the first session accident he had with Daniel Keilwitz’ Callaway Corvette. The Swede, who along with team mate – Frank Stippler (DEU) is in the hunt for the Pro Cup title was handed a five place grid penalty for the qualifying Race tomorrow morning.
The all-important Qualifying session will take place this afternoon, where there will be two qualifying sessions of 15-mins each. Although the Superpole session has been cancelled there will still be a ferocious battle for the top positions and what could be a crucial point for the pole setters.