GruppeM Racing ends Friday fastest at B12Hr

Mercedes-AMG Team GruppeM Racing

Mercedes-AMG Team GruppeM Racing ended the opening day’s running fastest for the Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour after a final flurry courtesy of a late red flag in Practice 4.

The early part of the session saw times tumble, with a battle emerging at the top of the time sheets between Mercedes, BMW and, in the latter stages, Ferrari and Audi.

At the chequered flag the GruppeM Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 with Maximilian Goetz at the wheel held on to a two tenths advantage over the BMW Team Schnitzer entry.

A fast final lap from Kelvin van der Linde saw the Audi Sport Team Valvoline entry jump to second fastest, just 0.04s off Goetz’s pace.

The BMW Team Schnitzer entry driven by Augusto Farfus set the early running, the opening hot laps a relatively pedestrian 2:06s which quickly tumbled into the 2:04s bracket.

Maro Engel was the first driver to drop into the 2:04s bracket, the Mercedes-AMG GT3 driver the first to drop below 2:05s in a day that had been interrupted by red flags during earlier sessions.

The German improved though so too did Christopher Haase in the Audi Sport Team Valvoline entry with a 2:04.5397s effort to move a tenth clear at the top after the first quarter of an hour.

Bentley moved to the top shortly afterwards, Andy Soucek, banking a 2:04.2214 to edge Engel by less than half a tenth to go fastest.

That pace was a second off the theoretical fastest, with the best three sectors combined recording a comfortable 2:03.2s lap.

An enthralling battle emerged at the top of the timing screens with Audi, Bentley, and BMW represented and constantly trading fastest laps.

Farfus recorded a 2:03.8017 to record the first 2:03s lap of the weekend at a time Engel and Soucek headed to the lane.

Down the order David Reynolds was the leading Pro-Am entry in ninth place with the The Bend Mercedes-AMG GT3, one spot clear of Ben Porter who was behind the wheel of the Trofeo Motorsport Lamborghini Huracan GT3.

Mercedes joined the party at the top of the time sheets, Raffaele Marciello setting a 2:03.9687s to move the GruppeM Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 into second.

On the Italian’s next time around he improved to a 2:03.5882s to depose the BMW Team Schnitzer car which Farfus had handed over to Martin Tomczyk.

Nick Foster moved to third in the HubAuto Corsa Ferrari 488 GT3, the third car to drop into the 2:03s time with a 2:03.9879s.

A red flag was shown with 10 minutes remaining in the session when the Vantage Freight KTM X-Bow GT4 found the gravel at the final corner.

The clock continued to tick down during the red flag, leaving only four minutes on the clock when the green flag was shown.

Only van der Linde improved in the final flurry while the second Bentley Continental GT3 driven by Vincent Abril stopped on Conrod straight but ultimately didn’t interrupt proceedings.

Cars are next on track for a final practice session at 0835 on Saturday morning before teams will tackle qualifying, the fastest of which will dub into the Top 10 Shootout.

Results: Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour, Practice 4

Pos Car Team Driver Car Class Fastest Lap Gap
1 999 Mercedes-AMG Team GruppeM Raci M.Buhk/R.Marciello/M.Goetz Mercedes AMG GT3 PP 2:03.588
2 22 Audi Sport Team Valvoline K.van der Linde/G.Tander Audi R8 LMS PP 2:03.630 00.042
3 42 BMW M Motorsport A.Farfus/M.Tomczyk BMW M6 GT3 PP 2:03.802 00.214
4 27 HubAuto Corsa N.Foster/T.Slade/N.Percat Ferrari 488 GT3 PP 2:03.988 00.400
5 77 Team Craft Bamboo Black Falcon M.Engel/L.Stolz/G.Paffett Mercedes AMG GT3 PP 2:04.023 00.435
6 108 Bentley Team M-Sport A.Soucek/V.Abril Bentley Continental PP 2:04.221 00.633
7 62 “Aston Martin St. Gallen, B&O, J.Dennis/M.Vaxiviere/M.Kirchhoefer Aston Martin Vantage PP 2:04.495 00.907
8 2 Audi Sport Team Valvoline C.Mies/C.Haase/M.Winkelhock Audi R8 LMS PP 2:04.540 00.952
9 777 The Bend Motorsport Park David Reynolds (AUS) Mercedes AMG GT GT3 AP 2:04.562 00.973
10 107 Bentley Team M-Sport S.Kane/J.Gounon/J.Pepper Bentley Continental PP 2:04.691 01.103
11 12 Ice Break – Virgin Australia D.Calvert-Jones/K.Estre/J.Evans Porsche GT3-R AP 2:04.743 01.155
12 75 Sunenergy1 Racing K.Habul/D.Baumann/T.Jaeger Mercedes AMG GT GT3 AP 2:04.861 01.273
13 912 EBM D.Werner/M.Campbell Porsche 911 GT3-R PP 2:04.954 01.366
14 911 EBM R.Dumas/S.Muller/M.Jaminet Porsche 911 GT3-R PP 2:05.094 01.506
15 35 KC Motorgroup LTD K.Chiyo/T.Matsuda/J.Burdon Nissan GTR Nismo GT3 PP 2:05.111 01.523
16 34 Walkenhorst Motorsport C.Krognes/N.Catsburg/M.Jensen BMW M6 GT3 PP 2:05.115 01.527
17 888 Mercedes-AMG Team Vodafone C.Lowndes/J.Whincup Mercedes AMG GT GT3 PP 2:05.636 02.048
18 29 Haemokinisis/ Trofeo Estate/ P J.Manolios/B.Porter/D.Canto Lamborghini Huracan AP 2:05.772 02.184
19 11 Objective Racing T.Walls/W.Luff/A.Watson McLaren 650s AP 2:05.928 02.340
20 98 Aussie Driver Search Todd Hazelwood (AUS) Audi R8 LMS AP 2:06.100 02.512
21 19 Team Nineteen, Black Falcon M.Griffith/Y.Buurman/C.Nielsen Mercedes AMG GT GT3 AP 2:06.461 02.873
22 18 KC Motorgroup LTD Edoardo Liberati (ITA) Nissan GTR Nismo GT3 PP 2:07.343 03.755
23 20 Localsearch D.Jilesen/S.Owen MARC Car Marc II V8 I 2:07.440 03.852
24 6 Wall Racing A.Deitz/J.Westwood/T.D’Alberto Lamborghini Huracan AP 2:07.444 03.856
25 9 Melbourne Performance Centre M.Cini/D.Fiore Audi R8 LMS AP 2:07.621 04.033
26 91 MARC Cars Australia K.Kassulke/P.Morris/P.Tracy MARC Car Marc II V8 I 2:09.501 05.913
27 23 Team Carrera Cup Asia J.Bao/P.Hamprecht Porsche 911 GT3 Cup B 2:10.821 07.233
28 92 AJC Portables/ Nana’s Naturals G.Taunton/D.O’Keeffe MARC Car Marc I I 2:11.129 07.541
29 43 The Furniture Broker D.Stutterd/S.Fillmore/R.Muscat Porsche 911 GT3 Cup B 2:11.151 07.563
30 4 Grove Group S.Grove/B.Grove Porsche 911 GT3 Cup B 2:11.237 07.649
31 760 Aston Martin St. Gallen, B&O A.Baenziger/P.Leemhuis Aston Martin Vantage AP 2:14.157 10.569
32 96 GAP Solutions / SEKTOR H.Morral/E.Thorsen MARC Car Marc I I 2:15.095 11.506
33 71 Exedra Motorsport Dean Koutsoumidis (AUS) KTM X-Bow GT4 C 2:19.642 16.054
34 48 M Motorsport D.Lillie/E.Barbour KTM X-Bow GT4 C 2:19.930 16.342
35 55 Ginetta Australia B.Schumacher/J.Vernon Ginetta G55 GT4 C 2:20.355 16.766
36 13 JET Environmental D.Jorgensen/G.McLeod BMW M4 GT4 C 2:23.068 19.480
37 50 Vantage Freight David Crampton (AUS) KTM X-Bow GT4 C 2:28.504 24.915

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