Swiss young gun tops opening practice at Bathurst 12 Hour

Ricardo Feller. Picture: Ross Gibb

Ricardo Feller has put Audi on top in the first Liqui Moly Bathurst 12 Hour session in more than two years.

The 21-year-old Swiss star was the fastest out of the blocks as well as at the end of the half-hour Practice 1 in a promising start for the #777 entry, which he is sharing with Markus Winkelhock and Yasser Shahin.

On his Mount Panorama debut, Feller wound up atop the timesheets with a 2:04.5150s set after the chequered flag, to dispatch 2020 winner Jules Gounon (#75 SunEnergy1 Racing Mercedes).

In a late change to the schedule, Practice 1 was switched to an all-in affair, with Practice 2 (starting 10:45 AEST) now reserved for Bronze drivers only.

Greeted with a semi-wet track following some early morning rain, Feller went to the top on the first flying runs with a relatively pedestrian 2:16.2621s.

Lap times tumbled with every passing lap as conditions improved, with Ben Barker (#4 Grove Racing Porsche GTR 3), David Wall (#6 Wall Racing Lamborghini Huracan), and Luca Stolz (#75 SunEnergy1 Racing Mercedes) spending time at the top.

By the seventh time around The Mountain, Feller had lowered the benchmark to a 2:04.9082s, which remained intact until the dying stages.

Tony D’Alberto put the #6 Huracan up to fourth, and then second, in a strong showing before the international contingent geared up for one last crack.

Gounon, who had taken from Stolz, had threatened to improve on numerous occasions before coming good with a final effort of 2:04.9079s to go to the top by a mere 0.0003s.

However, Feller was not done yet, lobbing in a lap which would give him the ascendancy to the tune of four tenths.

D’Alberto’s 2:05.1804s remained good enough for third, ahead of Cameron Waters (#24 C Tech Laser Audi R8 EVO II) and David Russell (#47 Supabarn Audi R8 EVO II).

Shane van Gisbergen was seventh in the #888 Mercedes AMG GT3, as all 20 cars hit the track.

Results: Practice 1

Pos # Team Driver Car Class Fastest lap Gap
1 777 Audi Sport Team Valvoline Ricardo Feller Audi R8 GT3 Evo II APA 2:04.5150
2 75 SunEnergy1 Racing L.Stolz/J.Gounon Mercedes AMG GT3 APA 2:04.9079 +0.3929
3 6 Wall Racing T.D’Alberto/D.Wall Lamborghini Huracan GT3 APA 2:05.1804 +0.6654
4 24 Tony Bates Racing Cameron Waters Audi R8 GT3 Evo II APA 2:05.1962 +0.6812
5 47 Supabarn David Russell Audi R8 GT3 Evo II AAM 2:05.2990 +0.7840
6 65 Coinspot Fraser Ross Audi R8 GT3 Evo II APA 2:05.4383 +0.9233
7 888 Triple Eight Race Engineering Shane van Gisbergen Mercedes AMG GT3 APA 2:05.4575 +0.9425
8 91 Mercedes-AMG Team Craft-Bamboo Racing M.Engel/D.Juncadella Mercedes AMG GT3 APA 2:05.7827 +1.2677
9 17 Team BRM Joey Mawson Audi R8 GT3 Evo II APA 2:05.8941 +1.3791
10 74 Audi Sport Team Valvoline Nathanael Berthon Audi R8 GT3 Evo II APA 2:06.4302 +1.9152
11 4 Grove Racing B.Barker/S.Grove Porsche 911 GT3R APA 2:06.4858 +1.9708
12 55 Valmont Racing Duvashen Padayachee Mercedes AMG GT3 AAM 2:06.9362 +2.4212
13 50 M Motorsport/ Vantage Racing Dale Wood KTM X-Bow GT2 I 2:06.9561 +2.4411
14 19 Nineteen Corporation Pty Ltd Will Brown Mercedes AMG GT3 APA 2:07.5455 +3.0305
15 9 Hallmarc L.Holdsworth/D.Fiore Audi R8 GT3 Evo II APA 2:07.9238 +0.4088
16 222 Scott Taylor Motorsport Craig Lowndes Porsche 991 GT3 Gen II C 2:09.0624 +4.5474
17 95 MARC Cars Australia Geoffrey Taunton MARC II V8 I 2:10.4323 +5.9173
18 45 RAM Motorsport G.Walden/B.Hobson Mercedes AMG GT3 AAM 2:11.6765 +7.1615
19 52 Wheels/ FX Racing PNG K.Kassulke/H.Morrall MARC II V8 I 2:15.6805 +11.1655
20 11 Our Kloud-UpTo11 Motorsport Eric Constantindis Porsche 991 GT3 Gen II C 2:21.5406 +17.0256

Results to follow

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