Marciello puts Akkodis ASP Mercedes-AMG on top in opening practice for Fanatec GT Sprint decider

Marciello puts Akkodis ASP Mercedes-AMG on top in opening practice for Fanatec GT Sprint decider

Raffaele Marciello put the #89 Akkodis ASP Mercedes-AMG on top in free practice for this weekend's title-deciding Fanatec GT Sprint round at Valencia. 

This was a confidence-boosting performance for Marciello and teammate Timur Boguslavskiy, who trail championship leaders Dries Vanthoor and Charles Weerts (#32 Team WRT Audi) by 11.5 points heading into the finale. The #89 AMG GT3 was eight places clear of its rival, though in a typically close session the difference in lap time was a little over two tenths.   

The #11 Tresor by Car Collection Audi was second-fastest courtesy of Christopher Haase, who was 0.009s shy of Marciello. Christian Engelhart was third at the wheel of the #54 Dinamic Motorsport Porsche with a lap of 1m31.869s, just 0.004s faster than Klaus Bachler in the sister #56 machine. 

The best of the Silver Cup runners was Eddie Cheever, who concluded the session eighth overall in the #93 Sky Tempesta Racing Mercedes-AMG. At the conclusion of a tough campaign, this was perhaps the most promising showing yet for the British squad. The #32 Team WRT Audi was next on the charts, with Vanthoor 0.238s shy of Marciello's benchmark.

Dean MacDonald was the best of the Pro-Am runners in 20th overall at the wheel of the #188 Garage 59 McLaren. MacDonald and teammate Miguel Ramos are favourites to capture their class crown this weekend, enjoying an 20.5-point lead in the drivers' standings. 

All 26 cars were on-track during free practice, with the top-23 separated by less than one second. The contenders will be back in action at 13:10 CEST for pre-qualifying, which will provide another 80 minutes of running ahead of tomorrow's opening qualifying and race. Beginning on Saturday, coverage will air in English, German, French and Italian on the GTWorld YouTube channel.

Friday 16 September
13:10–14:30: Pre-Qualifying

Saturday 17 September
09:00–09:20: Qualifying 1 LIVE
14:00–15:00: Race 1 LIVE

Sunday 18 September
09:00–09:20: Qualifying 2 LIVE
14:00–15:00: Race 2 LIVE