Blancpain GT Series newcomer Orange1 FFF Racing delivered another strong showing in this afternoon's pre-qualifying session at Circuit Paul Ricard, with Andrea Caldarelli putting the Chinese squad's #563 Lamborghini on top at the French venue.
Though the outfit is new to the series it currently leads both the drivers' and teams' standings in the Endurance Cup, having taken runner-up finishes at Monza and Silverstone.
Today, the #563 Lamborghini showed its front-running pace with team principal Caldarelli at the wheel, setting a best time of 1m53.093s to edge out reigning champions Black Falcon Mercedes-AMG.
The German squad went P2 at the very end of the session thanks to a rapid lap from Luca Stolz aboard the #4 car. The #87 AKKA ASP machine ensured that there were a pair of Mercedes-AMGs among the top three, while also topping the Pro-Am order thanks to Jim Pla.
The leading Silver Cup car was not far behind, with Mattia Drudi putting the #55 Attempto Racing Audi fifth overall, while in Am Cup the #188 Garage 59 Aston Martin led the way. The British effort's most recent class win was at Circuit Paul Ricard last year.
In a typically close session the top-26 cars were split by a shade over a second, with series debutant Alex Lynn (#76 R-Motorsport Aston Martin) just 1.034s shy of Caldarelli's best effort.
Blancpain GT Series competitors are now set for a busy Saturday at Circuit Paul Ricard, with qualifying kicking off the day at 10.30. This will establish the grid for the main event, a 1,000km race that begins at 18.00 and runs into the night. All of the action will be streamed live on the Blancpain GT Series website and across the championship's social media channels.