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IGTC finale gets underway with full day of Gulf 12 Hours testing

IGTC finale gets underway with full day of Gulf 12 Hours testing

> Open Practice Results (1-4)

This year’s Intercontinental GT Challenge Powered by Pirelli season finale began in earnest today with four Open Practice test sessions ahead of this weekend’s Gulf 12 Hours.

Multiple red flag periods reduced the five hours of scheduled track time but there were still enough laps available for IGTC’s teams and drivers to acclimatise themselves with what for many is an unfamiliar circuit and event.

Audi Sport Team Tresor’s Kelvin van der Linde ended Friday atop the combined classification after setting a 1m52.097s at the start of Night Practice. Opportunities to beat that were scuppered by Kessel’s #33 Ferrari, which crashed heavily just after the hour mark. Significant and lengthy barrier repairs followed.

The fourth and final session resumed 90 minutes later at 21:00 local time – half-an-hour after it was originally scheduled to end – and continued for another 30 minutes so that teams could claw back at least some of the lost time.

However, no-one could lower the time of Van der Linde who went on to finish 0.079s faster than AF Corse – Francorchamps Motors’ #71 Ferrari.

The second factory 488 was next up, albeit 0.362s down on the R8’s best, while Audi Sport Team Sainteloc made it four IGTC entries in the top-four overall. Garage 59’s McLaren completed the consolidated top-five.

Philip Ellis topped the order in session three, and his time – 1m52.611s – was fast enough to leave SunEnergy1 by SPS as the fastest Mercedes-ANG team in sixth overall. The same car also topped Open Practice 2 – a session reserved for Am drivers – in Martin Konrad’s hands.

However, one of the manufacturer’s fancied factory entries was forced out of the final test after Lucas Auer crashed heavily in Open Practice 3. GruppeM now faces a race against time to repair the car in time for Saturday morning’s first official practice session.

Inception Racing’s McLaren driven by Ben Barnicoat set the pace in the first session.

Saturday features two official practice sessions before qualifying begins at 17:00.