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Mercedes has set the early pace for Saturday’s first Sprint race in the Blancpain GT European Challenge at the Hungaroring . Luca Stolz led FP2 Black Falcon on top ahead of the crucial Saturday Qualifying session.

Stolz delivered a 1m43.487s aboard the #4 Mercedes-AMG he shares with Maro Engel to edge out long-time pace-setter Felipe Fraga (#90 AKKA ASP Mercedes-AMG). The Brazilian driver looked unbeatable for much of the session but was eventually knocked off the top by just 0.084s. It was nevertheless an excellent conclusion to the day for Silver Cup ace Fraga, who also finished P2 overall in this morning’s opening session.

Stephane Ortelli was third quickest in the #24 Sainteloc Racing Audi, concluding a solid day for the veteran Monegasque and new teammate Dorian Boccalacci. Dries Vanthoor completed the top-four in his #1 Belgian Audi Club Team WRT entry, while Diego Menchaca was an impressive fifth overall in his Silver Cup class Orange1 FFF Racing Lamborghini.

The Pro-Am runners were led by Phil Keen in the sister #519 FFF Lamborghini, though the car would encounter problems late in the session when Hiroshi Hamaguchi hit the turn 11 barriers. This would bring out the only red flag of the 80-minute run, effectively concluding proceedings early.