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Bathurst FP1 & FP2: Mercedes-AMG’s Marciello tops red-flag interrupted sessions

Bathurst FP1 & FP2: Mercedes-AMG’s Marciello tops red-flag interrupted sessions

> Result: FP1 and FP2

GruppeM Racing’s Mercedes-AMG led the way in second practice for this weekend’s Intercontinental GT Challenge Powered by Pirelli season opener at the Bathurst 12 Hour during a session marred by red flag periods.

Raffaele Marciello found sufficient space and time between the stoppages to record a 2m04.9684s. That was 0.4s faster than Tim Slade’s best aboard HubAuto Corsa’s Ferrari and a similar margin ahead of Audi Sport Team Valvoline’s #2 R8 LMS GT3.

The Mercedes-AMG co-run by Craft-Bamboo and Black Falcon was next up courtesy of Maro Engel while the first of Porsche’s contingent – the Competition Motorsports / McElrea Racing example driven by Jaxon Evans – completed the top-five.

However, two lengthy red flag periods undoubtedly prevented further improvements.

Melbourne Performance Centre’s #3 Audi was the first to hit trouble in FP1 – a session reserved for Bronze and Silver-graded drivers – when Pete Storey crashed exiting The Chase.

That was followed in the second session by Tim Pappas’ heavy accident, also at The Chase, which caused significant damage to the Black Swan Racing Porsche. Pappas was initially transferred to the circuit’s medical centre before being sent to hospital in Bathurst for further assessment. He was conscious throughout.

A coming together between Mercedes-AMG Team Vodafone’s Shane Van Gisbergen and Spirit of Race’s Paul Dalla Lana as the pair headed towards Meguiar’s also resulted in the Ferrari sustaining heavy front-end damage towards the end of the second session.

FP3 begins at 11:20 local time, 10 minutes later than previously scheduled.