Maro Engel led a star-studded field in free practice for the Macau GT Cup on Thursday.
Driving a Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3, the 2013 event pole-sitter set a time of 2m20.976s to put himself 0.396 seconds clear of his nearest rival, Blancpain GT Series champion Laurens Vanthoor.
Vanthoor’s Audi R8 LMS Ultra team-mate Edoardo Mortara was third, 0.730 seconds off the pace. The DTM regular has won six events on the streets of Macau in the past five years – the F3 Grand Prix in 2009/10, the GT Cup from 2011 to 2013, as well as last year’s Audi R8 LMS Cup.
Engel’s team-mate and fellow former Mercedes DTM racer Renger van der Zande completed the top four.
World Endurance Championship competitor Darryl O’Young led the Asian contingent in his Craft-Bamboo Aston Martin Vantage GT3 ahead of Japanese Mercedes driver Takeshi Tsuchiya.
Local ace and 2000 F3 winner Andre Couto was seventh quickest in his Ferrari 458 Italia GT3, ahead of BMW Z4 GT3 driver Augusto Farfus. His team-mate and DTM champion Marco Wittmann was 13th.
Completing the top ten were Adderly Fong and Jean-Karl Vernay driving an Audi and a Bentley respectively under the same Absolute Racing banner, just ahead of Porsche Supercup champion Earl Bamber.
The session was disrupted when another Absolute driver, Hong Kong’s Philip Ma, crashed his Audi, triggering a red flag.