Brands Hatch is the scene for the only major GT race series to visit Great Britain in 2022 with the Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS Sprint Cup making the short hop across The Channel to the historic Kent race circuit.
GTWCE BRANDS HATCH: LIVESTREAM | QUALIFYING REPORT
The first half of the opening qualifying session saw Silver driver Ulysse De Pauw in the #53 AF Corse Ferrari 488 GT3 dominate the Pro drivers with a set of blistering laps that no one else was able to match. At the end De Pauw finished just 0.034 seconds ahead of the closest challenger, Jules Gounon in the #88 Akkodis ASP Mercedes-AMG GT3.
Mattia Drudi made the first statement of intent in the session with a lap 0.4 faster than the pack on his third lap around the circuit before Ulysse De Pauw beat Drudi’s time by 0.3 before going on to consolidate the position on the next lap with a 1m21.770s.
Behind him, Jules Gounon was working hard but couldn’t quite match the Belgian and despite having a lap of 1m21.4s cancelled due to track limits, De Pauw held onto first place with his 1m21.770s. The session was then curtailed with a minute remaining after the #26 Saintéloc Junior Team Audi of Gilles Magnus beached itself in the gravel at Surtees.
Race one would therefore see the Silver class Ferrari of De Pauw starting on pole with Jules Gounon next to him and Matti Drudi in the Tresor by Car Collection Audi R8 LMS GT3 taking P3. Timur Boguslavskiy was just 0.003 seconds behind Drudi in fourth, ahead of Charles Weerts in the #32 Team WRT Audi R8 LMS GT3.
The second session got underway on time and the opening laps saw the top positions change every few seconds with Dries Vanthoor, Raffaele Marciello and Fred Vervisch initially trading the top spot. Vanthoor in the #32 Team WRT Audi LMS GT3 popped a 1m24.929s lap which gave him the top spot ahead of Marciello by two tenths. The pair were quickly split by Christopher Haase in the #11 Tresor by Car Collection Audi despite having a slight off exiting Surtees which left a marker board wedged into the front of the car. Not to be outdone, Marciello attempted to go one better and nearly collected the tyre wall on the approach to Druids after running wide at Paddock Hill bend and taking to the gravel.
When the second half of the session started, it was #25 Saintéloc Junior Team driver Patric Niederhauser who started the session flying. On his first lap he ran wide at Sheene Curve after posting previous purple sectors. On his next lap he beat his original time that had him in fourth by three tenths which dropped him nicely onto pole.
Marciello was up to the challenge and with a few seconds had taken the place back just 0.073 seconds ahead of Niederhauser.
The session was again ended with a red flag after Dennis Marschall put the #66 Attempto Racing Audi R8 LMS GT3 into the barriers at Hawthorns. Vanthoor took P3 ahead of Christoper Haase with Jim Pla in the Akkodis ASP Team Mercedes-AMG GT3 taking fifth.
Ben Barker put the Pro-Am Barwell Motorsport Lamborghini into sixth although with his teammate, Alex Malykhin not taking part due to illness it remains to be seen if the car will start tomorrow. Pierre-Alexandre Jean was unable to replicate his co-driver De Pauw’s heroics in the Silver class, but would have been happy with the #53 AF Corse Ferrari on P7.
Race one of the GT World Challenge Europe is at 11:25 BST (12:25 CET) on Sunday with race 2 starting at 16:45 BST (17:45 CET) and both can be watched live here on GT REPORT on our LIVESTREAM page.
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