Maro Engel topped the first official session of this year’s Gulf 12 Hours after his GruppeM squad worked through the night to repair their damaged Mercedes-AMG.
Lucas Auer’s testing accident restricted the #98 entry’s Friday running and required a significant rebuild. However, Engel made up for lost time by setting the first and second fastest times in the two-hour session.
The #98 entry, which also features Maxi Goetz, reeled off a 1m52.169s two laps after first hitting the front in the first 30 minutes. That was fast enough to beat the team’s sister car shared by IGTC’s championship challenging trio Dani Juncadella, Jules Gounon and Raffaele Marciello by 0.265s, although the latter did set PB first and second sectors on his in-lap.
2 Seas non-IGTC entry completed Mercedes-AMG’s sweep of the top-three just 0.023s further back, while Audi Sport Team Sainteloc weren’t too far further back in fourth.
Ferrari’s best-placed IGTC nomination was only eighth, three places behind the best of the nine-strong 488 contingent. Kessel’s #33 Pro-Am entry finished a fine fifth after the team was forced to change chassis following an accident in Open Practice 3.
Mercedes-AMG’s remaining IGTC nominations completed the top-seven with SunEnergy1 by SPS beating Al Manar Racing’s entry.
FP2 begins at 15:00 local time.