Kessel Racing led the way in opening practice on Saturday for the opening round of the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup at the Autodromo Nazionale Monza, although it was a close-run thing at the top.
The #11 Pro-Am Cup class Kessel Racing Ferrari of Michael Broniszewski and Alessandro Pier Guidi edged out the #4 Pro Cup class Mercedes AMG -Team Black Falcon Mercedes of Luca Stolz, Yelmer Buurman and Maro Engel by just 0.098 seconds, while 0.037 seconds further back was the #333 Rinaldi Racing Ferrari of Rinat Salikhov, Alexander Mattschull and Dominik Schwager.
The #26 Sainteloc Racing Audi of Markus Winkelhock, Marc Rostan and Nyls Stievenart placed fourth overall and third of the Pro-Am Cup class, while the #62 R-Motorsport Aston Martin Vantage of Marvin Kirchhofer, Alex Brundle and Maxime Martin were fifth.
The leading Silver Cup entry was sixth overall in the session, with Alex Fontana giving a timely boost to the Emil Frey Jaguar Racing team as he set a best time of 1:49.003s in the car he shares with Adrian Zaugg and Mikael Grenier.
The #43 Strakka Racing Mercedes of Maximilian Buhk, Alvaro Parente and Maximilian Goetz was seventh fastest ahead of the Pro-Am Cup #87 AKKA ASP Team Mercedes of Nicolas Jamin, Mauro Ricci and Jean-Luc Beaubelique, while the #24 Reiter Young Stars Lamborghini and the #76 R-Motorsport Aston Martin rounded out the top ten.
The leading Am Cup class entry was the #488 Rinaldi Racing Ferrari of Rick Yoon, Pierre Ehret and Rory Penttinen, who were twenty-fourth overall.
The session was briefly red flagged to recover the #25 Sainteloc Racing Audi from the gravel trap, while the session ended a minute early #24 Lamborghini slowed on track.