Japan will start both GT Cup qualifying races from pole position thanks to a superb showing from Hiroshi Hamaguchi and Ukyo Sasahara.
The Japanese-liveried Lamborghini Huracan was at the sharp end in both of this morning's qualifying sessions, singling the nation out as hot favourite to clinch GT Cup gold at the inaugural FIA Motorsport Games.
Hamaguchi was the class of the field throughout the opening 20-minute run, establishing himself at the top of the order and never looking likely to be deposed.
He was quick during the early stages when wet tyres were the order of the day and quicker still when slicks were fitted during the closing minutes. Ultimately Hamaguchi was a substantial 1.4 seconds clear of the pack, with the mixed conditions only partially responsible for his sizeable advantage.
Salih Yoluc was second-fastest in the Team Turkey Aston Martin. Last year's FIA GT Nations Cup winner posted the time late in the session, beating Rinat Salikhov (Russia Ferrari) to a place on the front row. Salikhov will start alongside the Team Portugal Audi driven by Miguel Ramos, with Stefan Göring (Team Germany Porsche) and Robert Ferriol (Team USA Ferrari) completing the top-six.
The second session may have concluded with the same result as the first – a Japanese pole position – but Sasahara secured top spot by a considerably smaller margin than his teammate.
In fact, it was the smallest margin possible. Sasahara posted a 1m32.898s lap to establish himself at the top of the times, but faced stiff opposition from Jim Pla in the Team France Mercedes-AMG. In the final minutes of the session Pla looked set to snatch pole, only to cross the line with an identical time to Sasahra. As the Japanese ace recorded his effort earlier, he will start from pole ahead of Pla.
Patric Niederhauser will occupy third on the grid in his Team Switzerland Lamborghini, alongside Team Australia's Brenton Grove in his Porsche. Denis Bulatov (Russia Ferrari) and Weiron Tan (Malaysia Porsche) complete the top-six. The most notable absentee from the leading positions was Ayhancan Guven in the Team Turkey entry, who could managed only 16th.
The first of two one-hour qualifying races gets underway this afternoon at 14.25. The second will run tomorrow morning at 09.30, with the combined results setting the grid for a deciding contest at 15.15 on Sunday afternoon. All of the action can be followed live on the FIA Motorsport Games website and across the event's social media channels.
> Q1 Results
> Q2 Results