Patrick Van Glabeke went fastest in the first free practice session of the 2018 Blancpain GT Sports Club season at Monza, Italy. Driving the #488 Ferrari 488 GT3, the Belgian beat AF Corse team-mate and Titanium Cup entrant Mario Cordoni (#70 Ferrari 488 GT3), with Rinaldi Racing’s Christian Hook (#33 Ferrari 488 GT3) ensuring a Ferrari 1-2-3.
The Titanium Cup for drivers aged 50-59, proved highly competitive in this early session, with positions second through sixth occupied by the all-new class, as Mario Cordoni led Christian Hook, and Boutsen Ginion’s Karim Ojjeh (#2 BMW M6 GT3).
In the Iron Cup field, Kessel Racing’s Stephen Earle went quickest in the #111 Ferrari 488 GT3, with last year’s championship rival, Klaus Dieter Frers (#3 Artega Rennsport), driving his 488 to second in class.
Saturday’s busy schedule saw the 19 drivers head out for the 40-minute practice under the scorching sun, with five-time Blancpain GT Sports Club race-winner Mario Cordoni showing strong pace early on to go fastest of all after the first few laps.
Behind the Italian, AF Corse’s Christoph Ulrich (#51 Ferrari 488 GT3) and Belgian Patrick Van Glabeke traded second-quickest times, with Stephen Earle showing promise as he slipped into the top 10 after the first 15 minutes of running. However, with 10 minutes to go, 2017 Blancpain GT Sports Club race-winner Patrick Van Glabeke went fastest overall with a 1:49.535, which remained unbeaten as track temperatures continued to rise.
Mario Cordoni was the only other driver to dip below the 1:50 mark, posting a 1:49.809 to stay ahead of Titanium Cup rivals Christian Hook, Karim Ojjeh, Claudio Schiavoni (#20 Kessel Racing, Ferrari 488 GT3), who produced a fine late lap to slot into fifth overall, and Coach McKansy (#17 HP Racing International), who was sixth in the lead Lamborghini Huracan GT3.
Racing legend Stephen Earle was 12th overall and less than half-a-second ahead of Klaus Dieter Frers in the Iron Cup, with Bernd Kleinbach (#100 Attempto Racing, Lamborghini Huracan GT3) third in class on his championship debut.
Next for the drivers will be this afternoon’s qualifying session at 13:15 (GMT+2), before the 25-minute Qualifying Race kicks off at 16:25 (GMT+2). We will have live timing for all the sessions, with the race also streamed live on our official website, YouTube and Facebook page.
Click here for full practice results.