Andrea Caldarelli topped the 90-minute opening free practice session for the Total 24 Hours of Spa on Thursday morning as preparations for the 2020 edition began in earnest.
The session went green at 11.10 and marked the first time that the full field has been on-track at Spa-Francorchamps this year. It began on a damp surface following overnight rain, but the circuit dried throughout and slick Pirelli rubber was soon the tyre of choice.
A flurry of quick times during the final 10 minutes of the session saw Caldarelli emerge fastest in the #63 Orange1 FFF Lamborghini, lapping in 2m19.030s. The reigning Endurance Cup champion was 0.146s clear of two-time Spa winner Philipp Eng (Walkenhorst BMW). Last year’s pole-sitter, Maro Engel, was third in the #4 Mercedes-AMG Team HRT entry with a 2m19.207s.
A pair of Porsches completed the top-five, with Matt Campbell (#12 GPX Racing) ahead of Nick Tandy (#99 ROWE Racing). Dominik Baumann was sixth and the best of the Pro-Am runners in his #20 SPS Mercedes, while the similar car run by Madpanda Motorsport was the best Silver Cup entrant. Ricardo Sanchez set the time, which placed the #90 machine 18th overall. Full times can be viewed here.
The session was punctuated by two red flag periods, the first coming shortly after the halfway point following an incident between the #52 AF Corse Ferrari and RAM Racing’s #74 Mercedes-AMG. The second occurred during the final 20 minutes, when two Bentleys, the #107 from CMR and Team Parker’s #11 machine, hit problems. This was a brief stoppage, lasting just five minutes.