Edoardo Mortara (Photo Credit: GCS)

Edoardo Mortara (Photo Credit: GCS)

Edoardo Mortara paced the first qualifying session for the Star River Windsor Arch Macau GT Cup in his Audi R8 LMS.

Mortara, already twice a champion in the Formula 3 show piece Macau Grand Prix, returned to Gaia Circuit aboard Audi GT machinery at the end of a season representing the manufacturer in the DTM, as well as drivinf and R8 LMS last weekend in the 6 Hours of Zhuhai.

True to form the Italian easily paced the first of two qualifying sessions that will set the grid of the GT race. His time of 2:21.675 more than four seconds faster than that of defending race winner Keita Sawa who took the second best time of the session, however Mortara waited until the closing minutes of the session to move to the top of the times.

Danny Watts set the third best time, the McLaren MP4-12C making its Asia debut at the end of its first season in racing. Singaporean Mok Weng Sun made it four different marques in the top for in his Ferrari 458 GT3. In total nine different names are represented on the grid, with Porsche, Lotus, Aston Martin and Ginetta all present.

All three R8 LMS entered in the race set time inside the top ten, Japan's Akihiro Tsuzuki fifth in his example while British driver Richard Meins recorded the seventh fastest time in a car carrying the livery of United Autosports.

The second qualifying session is scheduled to take place on Saturday.