FP1: GruppeM top both classes in opening Buriram practice

FP1: GruppeM top both classes in opening Buriram practice

> Niederhauser and Renger give Mercedes-AMG double fastest times
> Result: FP1

GruppeM Racing’s Mercedes-AMGs topped both the GT3 and GT4 classes in opening practice at Buriram today ahead of this weekend’s Blancpain GT Series Asia round in Thailand.

Patric Niederhauser’s best of 1m34.355s – set at the end of his initial 10-lap run – helped the Swiss driver beat FFF Racing Team by ACM’s Dennis Lind by 0.122s after the Lamborghini jumped up to second in the final moments.

That dropped KCMG’s #18 Nissan, driven by Tsugio Matsuda, down to third overall, although the car he shares with Yuke Taniguchi remained fastest of GT3’s Pro/Am entries.

Tim Slade made it four different manufacturers in the top-four after lapping his HubAuto Corsa Ferrari just four tenths shy of Niederhauser. FFF Racing’s second Huracan driven by Marco Mapelli and GruppeM’s other Mercedes-AMG in the hands of Maxi Buhk rounded out a top-six separated by 0.5s.

The first of Audi’s contingent ended the session eighth courtesy of Absolute Racing whose #7 R8 LMS GT3 driven by Andrew Kim and Adderly Fong finished behind KCMG’s second GT-R GT3 of Strauss/Liberati. ARN Racing (Ferrari) and OD Racing Team WRT (Audi) completed the first 10 runners.

In GT4 it was joint-championship leader Reinhold Renger, competing solo this weekend, who topped the times aboard his Mercedes-AMG. The GruppeM driver’s best of 1m45.391s was a tenth faster than BMW Team Studie’s #81 M4 piloted by Sunako Jukuchou and Takayuki Kinoshita.

Team iRace.Win’s Gilles Vannelet and Ringo Chong completed the top-three a further tenth behind.

Second practice takes place at 16:00 local time today.