Kessel Racing Heads Team Black Falcon in Monza Free Practice

Alessandro Pier Guidi/Michael Broniszewski - Kessel Racing
Credit: SRO Motorsports Group

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.