Dragon Racing’s Loic Duval topped the only practice session of the weekend. Sebastien Buemi, Renault e.dams, had dominated the session once again, but lost out to the Frenchman in the dying minutes of the session, finishing in second.
Duval finished with a lap time of 1:20.1, a tenth of a second faster than Buemi, and over a second faster than the previous lap record.
The 75 minute session was halted three times by red flags, the first less than ten minutes after the session began, when a banner came loose from the fencing around the track. A bolt protruding from the temporary kerbing brought out the red flags for a second time, whilst marshals secured it and double checked the rest of the track was safe.
Multiple drivers struggled to keep control of the cars throughout the session, with many spins and journeys into the run off area. NEXTEV TCR were one of the teams clearly troubled, with both drivers suffering spins and stops. Nelson Piquet managed to stop the car before it hit the barrier but the incident, which happened at the same time as Venturi’s Jacques Villeneuve stopped on track, brought out the third red flag with thirty five minutes to go.
When green flags returned, Lucas Di Grassi was the next to have a problem. A good start to the lap was ruined as he locked up the rear wheels at the hair pin and found his way into the run off area. The Brazilian finished the session in fifth.
Buemi had been in charge for most of the session, and was at the top of the time sheet until four minutes to go, when his fastest lap of the session was beaten by Duval. It’s the first time Duval has topped a session since the first practice session of the final round of last season.