Mercedes-AMG remained the brand to beat in Pre-Qualifying at Circuit Paul Ricard, with French squad Akkodis ASP hitting the front of the order courtesy of Jules Gounon.
Gounon jumped to the top of the timing screens with an hour of the 90-minute session complete, circulating in 1m53.783s to put considerable distance between himself and the remainder of the 57-car field. This followed Mercedes-AMG Team AlManar driver Maro Engel leading the way in the day's earlier Free Practice session.
Dennis Lind delivered a late flyer to go P2 overall and comfortably top the Pro-Am class. The #78 Barwell Motorsport Lamborghini posted a 1m54.329s to edge the #87 Akkodis ASP Mercedes-AMG of Lorenzo Ferrari by just 0.007s.
The #888 CSA Racing Audi was fourth overall and led the Bronze Cup order thanks to a fine showing from Arthur Roigier, while Fabian Schiller was classified fifth overall in the #777 Mercedes-AMG. GT racing newcomer Calan Williams was a strong sixth in the #30 Team WRT BMW, which ensured that the Belgian squad topped the Gold Cup order.
The remainder of the top-10 consisted of the #188 Garage 59 McLaren; the #157 Winward Racing Mercedes-AMG; the #79 HRT Mercedes-AMG; and the #5 Optimum Motorsport McLaren. The best of the Silver Cup runners was again the #58 Grasser Racing Lamborghini in 29th spot, its time coming courtesy of Britain's Sam Neary.
Pre-Qualifying was largely problem-free, though a red flag period was necessitated when Dorian Boccolacci crashed the #22 CLRT Porsche at turn 11. The incident occurred after 15 minutes and prevented any further running from the #22 crew. Aside from brief yellow flags there were no other significant problems on-track.
With Friday's running complete, teams have a little over 12 hours before heading back out for Qualifying. This takes place tomorrow morning at 11:00 CEST and will set the grid for the main event: a six-hour Fanatec GT Europe Endurance Cup race that sets off at 18:00 and concludes at midnight. All of the action will air live in the GT World YouTube account and the Fanatec GT Europe Facebook page.