Shane van Gisbergen and Prince Jefri Ibrahim finish on top in opening practice
It was the Triple Eight Race Engineering Mercedes-AMG GT3 shared by Shane van Gisbergen and Prince Jefri Ibrahim, which led the first session on top at Round 3 of the Fanatec GT World Challenge at Sandown.
Fighting a lone hand in Pro-Am this weekend, the Triple Eight Race Engineering entry set a 1m 09.302s to lead current series runner up Liam Talbot and co-driver Fraser Ross in the Gtechniq Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo II.
Yasser Shahin and Garth Tander followed in their Audi supported by The Bend Motorsport Park, while the similar R8 LMS GT3 Evo II spearheaded by David Reynolds, who will share with Tony Bates rounded out the Pro-Am field in fourth.
Mercedes was again on top in Am Class as Garth Walden in the returning RAM Motorsport entry he’ll share with Michael Sheargold was fifth outright to lead the division. Finishing right behind was Harrolds Volante Rosso Racing’s Ross Poulakis, who will run solo this weekend in another Mercedes-AMG GT3 from GT returnee Marc Cini in his Hallmarc Audi.
The KFC-supported Matt Stoupas led teammates Garry Higgon and Paul Stokell, as David Crampton rounded out the top 10 in his Invitational Class, GT2-specification KTM X-Bow prepared by M Motorsport, with Trent Harrison to co-drive.
Rounding out the field were the two GT4 specification Mercedes of Fanatec GT World Challenge Australia Powered by AWS debutant Christos Batios, who held a slender margin back to Mark Griffith marking the class one to watch across the weekend.
It was announced earlier Griffith had installed Super2 leader Declan Fraser as co-driver this weekend, while Batios has called on Sam Brabham.
Fanatec GT World Challenge Australia Powered by AWS action continues at 2:05pm AEST for a second practice session before the fight for the Harrolds Pole Award occurs at 9:25am AEST tomorrow morning.
Fanatec GT World Challenge Australia’s two 60-minute races will be covered by Stan Sport’s live, uninterrupted and on-demand coverage.
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