> GruppeM lead BMW Team Studie lead GT4
> Result: FP1
Two Chinese debutants – Anstone Racing and JR-M – made the perfect start to their home round by topping a dry opening practice session at Shanghai earlier today.
Anstone’s #71 Mercedes-AMG shared by Xu Wei and Naoki Yokomizo set a best of 2m07.360s to lap 0.045s faster than Li Chao and Chris van der Drift’s Porsche, while the familiar names of Raffaele Marciello and GruppeM Racing were best of the regulars a further 0.051s behind in third.
Absolute Racing is running four Audis this weekend and the first of them, the #3 R8 LMS GT3, was next up in the hands of another Chinese driver, Franky Cheng, and team-mate Martin Rump. They were just ahead of Pro/Am championship leaders Hiroshi Hamaguchi and Marco Mapelli (FFF Racing Lamborghini) and the KCMG Nissan shared by their main class rivals Yuke Taniguchi and Alex Imperatori, who made it five different manufacturers inside the top-six.
The best of Phoenix Racing Asia’s new Bentleys separated the overall championship’s top-two in seventh and ninth, Kodric/Lind beating Niederhauser/Bastian by just over a tenth, while HubAuto Corsa’s #27 Ferrari completed the top-10.
Just 0.041s separated GT4 pace-setter Reinhold Renger from fellow championship protagonists Kinoshita and Jukuchou, whose Team Studie BMW led into the final minutes. Team iRace.Win finished third.
The day’s second 45-minute practice session begins at 16:00 local time.