The first free practice session on the Yas Marina Circuit saw the Avelon Formula Wolf CN2 prototypes setting fast times.
The first untimed practice session of the 2013 Gulf 12-Hours race at the stunning 5.5km Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi has been run.
Starting in the afternoon twilight and finishing under floodlights, the spectacular Yas circuit was at its best as it hosted 24 cars across 14 teams for the first two-hour on-track session.
The usual suspects were at the top of the time sheets during much of the session with defending champions AF Corse's Ferrari 458 Italia swapping quick laps with Team Abu Dhabi by Black Falcon's pair of Mercedes SLS AMGs while the Wolf CN2 prototypes belonging to Avelon Formula were also regular visitors to the top of the timesheets.
Kessel Racing's impressive outfit of four Ferrari 458 GT3s kept close company throughout much of the session holding down four of the top six spots which bodes well for the team that is looking to spoil AF Corse's unbroken spell of 12-Hour victories at Yas Marina Circuit
Twice the red flag was brought out to retrieve stranded cars but the track was quickly returned to green status after the prompt removal of the stricken cars by sector marshals.
Local team, Dragon Racing used the session to get their drivers acclimatized for the race with Jordan Grogor comfortable with the 458 GT3's pace. "We just used this session to bed everything in and so far it's all been plain sailing. I just hope it's like this during the race," the UAE resident said.
The field featured a mix of GT3, GT4, Porsche Cup and CN2 prototype cars including the Abu Dhabi-based Aston Martin Vantage GT4 driven by local Yas instructors, numerous Ferraris, Lamborghinis, McLarens, Porsches and the Black Falcon Mercedes squad.
Following two more practice sessions tomorrow morning, qualifying gets underway at 3.10pm where the pressure will be on as it's split into four 20-minute sessions (one per each driver) meaning that setting a quick time early is paramount to an optimum starting place on the grid.
The race starts at 9.30am on Friday.
Gulf 12 Hours Media