Free Practice news from the Blancpain 1000

Free Practice news from the Blancpain 1000

The Free Practice session for this weekend’s Blancpain 1000 on Saturday morning saw close and highly competitive action as teams and drivers set-up for the crucial qualifying session later this afternoon.

With just 1.1 seconds covering the top 16 positions the jostling for top starting positions is sure to be an epic duel today. Six different brands were represented within these positions as the world’s most competitive GT3 series comes to an explosive conclusion at Nürburgring this weekend.

A popular 1-2 fastest at their home track was the Black Falcon team. Their Pro-Am entered Mercedes SLS AMG GT3 set the pace with a best time of 1m56.039s, set by British racer, Adam Christodoulou. Steve Jans and Klaas Hummel will as usual share the car with Christodoulou.

Fastest in the Pro Cup and second overall was the Andreas Simonsen (SWE), Luca Ludwig (DEU) and Hupert Haupt (DEU) Mercedes SLS AMG GT3. Just 0.007s behind their team mates, Simonsen set a marker to the rest of the Pro-Cup field for the six-hour race tomorrow.

A creditable 3rd overall and 2nd in the Pro-Am category was the Team Ukraine Ferrari with Italian, Raffaele Giammaria (ITA) setting the highly competitive time to confirm their best result in a session so far this season.
The highest placed Pro Cup challenger was the HTP Motorsport Mercedes SLS AMG GT3 with Maximilian Götz setting the fastest time of 1m56.190s for the German squad. The reigning TOTAL 24 Hours of Spa winners have kept their driving team for the season climax here this weekend with Götz being joined by Maximilian Buhk and Bernd Schneider.

The other significant title challengers completed quiet sessions as they bedded themselves in to the weekend. The #13 Belgian Audi Club Team WRT car of Frank Stippler/Christopher Mies and Rene Rast finished 17th overall while the #3 Marc VDS Team BMW was in 21st position.

It was a disastrous start to the weekend for the Pro Cup title leading Ferrari 458 Italia of Kessel Racing. An early altercation with the Gentlemen Trophy entered GT Corse Ferrari ensured a lengthy pit stop early in the session. But worse was to follow when Cesar Ramos suffered a hefty accident at the first corner, impacting the Armco barrier on the lefthandside of the circuit. The team were hurriedly assessing the extent of the damage and if they could repair it for the afternoons Pre-Qualifying session.

In the Gentlemen Trophy class the clear leader in Free Practice was the SOFREV-ASP Ferrari 458 Italia of Gabriel Balthazard/Maurice Ricci and team boss Jerome Policand. The Nogaro based team are aiming to seal their fourth class win from five races this weekend, having already confirmed the driver’s and team’s series title at Spa in July.

This afternoon’s Pre-Qualifying session begins at 12.50cet.