GT World Challenge Europe Endurance Cup

HTP Mercedes Fastest In Spa 24 Free Practice

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Maximilian Gotz put the HTP Merc on top (Credit: V-IMAGES.com/Fabre)

Maximilian Gotz was the fastest man in the opening practice session for the 2013 Total 24 Hours of Spa, his HTP Motorsport Mercedes SLS fastest in the free practice session that begun the weekend.

In the Pro Cup class car he shares with Maximilian Buhk and Bernd Schneider Gotz lapped the 7km Spa-Francorchamps circuit in 2:22.118 to claim the fastest time by 0.141 over Nicky Catsburg, the fastest man in the #4 Marc VDS Racing BMW co-driven by Markus Palttala and Henri Moser.

The Manthey Racing Porsche was third fastest in The Pro Cup class, but fourth overall Marc Lieb’s time slower than that of Nicolas Armindo that topped the Pro-Am Cup category of the race in the SMG Challenge Porsche. Andreas Simonsen was second fastest in the Pro-Am class and ninth fastest overall in the #19 Black Falcon Mercedes.

The #19 was the slowest of the top nine covered by less than a second. The top ten – completed by the Pro-Am AF Corse Ferrari team that includes Duncan Cameron and Matt Griffin – contained seven different manufacturers with the fastest McLaren, Audi and Nissan in fifth, sixth and seventh overall.

The best cars for the brands not in the top ten – Aston Martin and Lamborghini – ended the session 17th and 24th respectively.

The Kessel Racing Ferrari that leads the Blancpain Endurance Series points into the race – the fourth round of the season – was eight seconds slower than Gotz’s benchmark in a lowly 59th overall of the 66 cars to set a lap.

Their stablemates in the #111 entry, in contrast, were fastest in the Gentlemens’ Trophy with Giuseppe Ciro setting a best lap of 2:24.743.

Preparations for the Total 24 Hours of Spa continue later today with pre-qualifying and qualifying sessions on Thursday evening. The process of setting the grid will be completed on Friday evening with the Superpole session.

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