Mauro Ricci leads AKKA ASP’s 1-2 in FP1 at Barcelona, Frers fastest in Iron Cup

29 September 2017 Mauro Ricci leads AKKA ASP’s 1-2 in FP1 at Barcelona, Frers fastest in Iron Cup
Mauro Ricci has set the fastest time in Friday’s opening free practice session for the 2017 Blancpain GT Sports season finale held at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya. Driving the #87 Mercedes-AMG GT3, the Belgian ace headed team-mate and newly crowned champion Anthony Pons on the #72 entry.

In the Iron Cup field, Artega Rennsport’s Klaus-Dieter Frers (#3 Ferrari 488 GT3) drew first blood in his thrilling championship battle with points leader Stephen Earle (#111 Kessel Racing Ferrari 458 Italia GT3), as the German driver went quickest in class in FP1.

The opening 30-minute session saw the 23 Blancpain GT Sports Club riders and runners entering this weekend’s Festival de la Velocidad de Barcelona take to the Spanish Grand Prix venue under ideal weather conditions.

Having wrapped up the Overall title in Budapest last month, Pons set the early pace before team-mate Ricci edged him by by 0.152s with a 1:50.779 flyer. Third fastest was Boutsen Ginion’s Karim Ojjeh, who is fighting for the runner-up spot in the standings with the #2 BMW M6 GT3.

Fresh off his maiden Blancpain GT Sports Club win last time out at the Hungaroring, Patrick Van Glabeke continued to show strong pace aboard the #488 AF Corse Ferrari 488 GT3 with the fourth quickest mark, ahead of HP Racing’s Coach McKansy in the fastest Lamborghini Huracan GT3 (#17 car). Driving the same model in the #63 machine, Nicolas Vandierendonck secured P6 in the #63 Shipex by Ombra Racing challenger.
Frers slotted into a solid seventh position, and first in the Iron Cup. Reigning class champion Martin Lanting, who is making a popular return to SRO Motorsports Group’s Bronze-only drivers series this weekend with the #48 AF Corse Ferrari 458 GTE , came home second while Earle completed the Iron Cup top three.

With FP1 now in the books, the Blancpain GT Sports Club drivers will look ahead to Saturday’s busy programme with FP2, Qualifying, and the 25-minute Qualifying Race all taking place on the same day at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya. We will have live timing for all the sessions, with the race also streamed live on our official website and Facebook page.

FP1 results are available here