Gounon leads opening Brands Hatch session for Boutsen VDS Mercedes-AMG

Gounon leads opening Brands Hatch session for Boutsen VDS Mercedes-AMG

Jules Gounon put Boutsen VDS on top in the opening session of the weekend at Brands Hatch. The #9 Mercedes-AMG posted a 1m22.956s to narrowly lead Free Practice, beating the #14 Emil Frey Racing Ferrari by just 0.002s. 

Gounon set his lap with 20 minutes remaining in the one-hour run and remained there until the chequered flag flew. This was despite an impressive effort from Ben Green, who came within a whisker of topping the times on home soil in the #14 Ferrari.

Indeed, this was an encouraging start for the Emil Frey squad, with Thierry Vermeulen putting the sister #69 entry third overall, 0.051s adrift of Gounon's benchmark. P4 went to the #32 Team WRT BMW driven by Dries Vanthoor, while Tom Gamble completed the top five in the #159 Garage 59 McLaren. 

Gilles Magnus was fifth overall in the #25 Saintéloc Racing Audi, leading the Gold Cup class in the car he shares with Paul Evrard. The Belgian ace was also the leading R8 runner in Free Practice. 

Silver Cup honours went to the impressive #71 AF Corse Ferrari crew of Eliseo Donno and Tom Fleming. The Ferrari Challenge graduates were on top during the early part of the session thanks to Fleming, who also survived a scary slide across the grass that ended in relatively minor contact with the barrier. 

This incident brought out a red flag, albeit a relatively short one. It followed an earlier stoppage after Valentino Rossi crashed the #46 Team WRT BMW, though the Italian also avoided major damage and the red flag was brief. 

Cars will be back on-track at 11:55 BST for a one-hour Pre-Qualifying session. The event's main Qualifying run follows this afternoon at 16:10, while both races take place on Sunday at 11:00 and 16:00. Every session will be streamed live on the GTWorld YouTube channel

> Results: Free Practice