Audi leads opening practice at Bathurst
Both Audi Sport Customer Racing Australia entries took the opening two practice sessions in preparation for this Sunday’s LIQUI MOLY Bathurst 12 Hour.
It’s been 27 months since the event last occurred in 2020, but it promises to be a close battle with four manufacturers represented in the outright fight.
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In opening practice, Audi Sport factory driver Ricardo Feller led the way in dry conditions to record a 2m 04.515s lap to lead the Triple Eight Race Engineering Mercedes-AMG entry driven by reigning LIQUI MOLY Bathurst 12 Hour winner Jules Gounon by 0.392s.
Current Supercheap Auto TCR Australia Series leader Tony D’Alberto made it three different marques in the top positions, finishing 0.665s off the fastest time in the Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo.
Next was Supercars race winner Cameron Waters in the C-Tech Laser Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo II and rounding out the top five was David Russell in the Supabarn Supermarkets example.
Fraser Ross, Shane van Gisbergen, Daniel Juncadella, Joey Mawson and Nathanael Berthon rounded out the top 10.
Due to a schedule change the two opening practice sessions were swapped leaving the Bronze drivers to go out after the Pros.
The Bronze session was stopped short of time due to the Vantage Racing KTM X-Bow encountering suspected engine problems and stopping out on track at The Chase.
Local driver Brad Schumacher finished the session on top in what is his first drive of the newer specification Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo II, leading by 0.201s from Audi Sport Customer Racing Australia teammate Yasser Shahin.
Liam Talbot in the Coinspot Audi placed third from the SunEnergy1 Racing/Triple Eight Race Engineering Mercedes-AMG GT3 of Kenny Habul and regular Fanatec GT World Challenge Australia Powered by AWS rival Tony Bates.
Prince Jefri Ibrahim was sixth in his Mann-Filter Triple Eight Race Engineering Mercedes-AMG GT3 ahead of the MARC II of Zane Morse, the Supabarn Supermarkets Audi driven by James Koundouris, Adrian Deitz in the Wall Racing Lamborghini and the second MARC II shared by Jake Camilleri and Declan Fraser.
RAM Motorsport endured a tough lead-in to the event, which continued in opening practice due to smoke trailing its Mercedes-AMG GT3 and failed to take part in the second session.
Two more practice sessions today follow starting at 3:15pm AEST.
Qualifying and the Top 10 Shootout will run on Saturday ahead of the 5:15am start time on Sunday. The start time will mean that the first hour of the race will be run in complete darkness – again, a first for the popular 12 Hour race.
Broadcast in Australia will be available via 7mate and Kayo, while international viewers can watch via GT World YouTube page https://www.youtube.com/
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