Mercedes on top in Shanghai practice
Anstone Racing and GruppeM Mercedes-AMG GT3s topped the two free practice sessions of the Blancpain GT Series Asia today in Shanghai.
Anstone’s Xu Wei and Naoki Yokomizo set a best time of 2:07.360s in the first session, 0.045s faster than Li Chao and Chris van der Drift’s Porsche, while Raffaele Marciello and GruppeM Racing were best of the regulars a further 0.051s behind in third.
Absolute Racing’s Audi was next up in the hands of another Chinese driver, Franky Cheng, and team-mate Martin Rump. They finished just ahead of Pro/Am Championship leaders Hiroshi Hamaguchi and Marco Mapelli (FFF Racing Lamborghini) and the KCMG Nissan NISMO shared by their main class rivals Yuke Taniguchi and Alex Imperatori, who made it five different manufacturers inside the top-six.
GruppeM Racing’s championship-leading Mercedes-AMGs finished one-two in second practice thanks to Nico Bastian and Marciello. Anstone Racing’s stranded Mercedes-AMG brought the session to a close with 10 of the scheduled 45 minutes remaining to ensure Bastian and his Drivers’ Championship-leading team-mate Patric Niederhauser remained unchallenged over the closing stages.
The #999 entry set 2:06.810s, 0.472s clear of the sister car Marciello shares with leading Am Alexander Mattschull after setting a best of 2m06.410. That was almost a second faster than the day’s opening session and a similar amount clear of Absolute Racing’s #3 Audi shared by Cheng and Rump who again finished third overall.