Edoardo Mortara started his defence of the Macau GT Cup title in perfect style, setting the fastest lap in a first practice session cut short by an accident 12 minutes from the end.

At the wheel of an Audi R8 LMS ultra, Mortara, who has also has two Macau Grand Prix titles to his name, was 1.657 seconds faster around a lap of the Guia Circuit than Lucas di Grassi making his first start at Macau since his own F3 appearance in 2005 and so turning his first laps in a GT car – a Ferrari 458 GT3, despite his race with Audi’s World Endurance Championship team in Brazil.

Driving for Spark Motorsport Romain Dumas headed a trio of Porsches, third fastest overall, though nearly 2.9 seconds slower than Mortara around the 6.2km circuit. Japanese driver Keita Sawa was fourth fastest with newly crowned Carrera Cup Asia Alexandre Imperatori fifth.

Danny Watts was the best of the two United Autosports McLaren MP4-12C GT3 in the race in sixth, with teammate for the weekend Richard Meins eighth fastest in the team’s pair of Gulf liveried machines.

Canadian driver Shim Ching, 28th fastest, crashed his Porsche 997 Cup into the circuit barriers, bringing out a red flag to end the running.

In total seven manufacturers are represented in the 30 car field for the race.

Two half hour qualifying sessions are scheduled – one for Friday, one for Saturday – with the 12 lap City of Dreams Macau GT Cup on Sunday – the final day of the annual racing festival.