The Montaplast by Land squad paced free practice for this weekend’s 70th edition Total 24 Hours of Spa as the full contingent of 63 cars took to the track in anger for the first time.
Kelvin van der Linde was at the wheel of the team’s Audi R8 LMS for the quickest lap of the session, with the South African racer recording a 2m20.865s around the Spa-Francorchamps circuit.
The 90-minute free practice began at 11.45 and marked a return to the track following a day of festivities in Spa town centre on Wednesday. All of this year’s entrants were involved, leading to a busy opening outing.
Van der Linde’s lap was just 0.036s clear of the #84 Mercedes-AMG Team Mann-Filter machine of Renger van der Zande, which in turn edged out the #34 ROWE Racing BMW M6 GT3 by a mere 0.002s.
This was representative of a very competitive opening session in which just 1.2s separated the top-20 cars. There remains plenty of time to be found, however, with Van der Linde’s best effort some 3.5s shy of last year’s pole lap.
The quickest car outside the Pro ranks was the #28 Daiko Lazarus Racing Lamborghini Huracan GT3. The Silver Cup machine set a time of 2m21.356s to end free practice sixth overall and within half a second of the leading Audi.
In Pro-Am, the #53 AF Corse Ferrari 488 GT3 lapped in 2m21.550 to top its class and secure ninth overall. The leading Am Cup runner was the #89 AKKA ASP Team Mercedes-AMG GT3, while the GDL Racing Lamborghini Super Trofeo machine was fastest in Group National.
With practice complete, teams have the afternoon to analyse their data ahead of pre-qualifying. Drivers will reconvene this evening at 18.10 for a one-hour session, while at 19.35 fans will have an opportunity to meet the stars and cars of this year’s Total 24 Hours of Spa with a pit walk and autograph session.
Qualifying proper will begin at 20:50, with live streaming on the Blancpain GT Series website, and will see positions 21 through 63 set. The fastest 20 entrants will advance to tomorrow’s Superpole session, where the first 10 rows of the grid for the 70th edition Total 24 Hours of Spa will be decided. The final entry list for the race can be viewed here.