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Paul Ricard Auto GP: Tamas Pal Kiss sets practice pace

Tamas Pal Kiss set the fastest time in Auto GP free practice at Paul Ricard on Friday.

The Hungarian used medium-compound Kumho tyre to go fourth fastest in the opening free practice session, the quickest driver on the harder compound of Kumhos, before producing his benchmark time of 1m17.808s in FP2.

The Zele Racing driver's lap was 0.131s quicker than Kimiya Sato, the winner of Marrakech's first race of the season last Saturday.

MRF graduate Sam Dejonghe was the only other man to dip below the 1m18s mark
Dejonghe produced a final lap flier of 1m17.956s to edge out Markus Pommer in the first session by 0.063s.

The pair had disputed the place at the top of the FP1 timesheets for the final third of the half hour session.

Dejonghe had initially displaced Campos GP2 driver Sato to go quickest, ut the Virtuosi driver was demoted with just a minute and half remaining by Super Nova driver Pommer, whose time of 1m18.019s had shaded Dejonghe by just 0.055s.

Pommer's effort was sufficient to secure the German second place in FP1, ahead Sato and Kiss.

On his first visit to Paul Ricard, Andrea Roda claimed fifth place in both FP1 and FP2 for Virtuoisi.

Virtuosi has scaled back to running two cars in France as the team reported that Slovakian Richard Gonda's car was too badly damaged in an accident with Kevin Giovesi in Marrakech to be repaired for this weekend.

Michela Cerruti completed the FP1 top six, ahead of Marrakech polesitter Kevin Giovesi.

In the second free practice session, Giovesi gained 1.2s on his FP1 best to take third, ahead of Pommer, Roda and Cerruti.

Michael Zele's team has changed its driver line-up for round two this weekend.

Former Auto GP title challenger Sergio Campana is an absentee, and the Italian's place at Zele is taken by Euronova Racing-managed driver Yoshitaka Kuroda.

Other changes to the Auto GP grid include the maiden appearance of 2012 European Formula 3 Open champion Niccolo Schiro at Ibiza Racing, in place of Francesco Dracone.

Practice 1

Pos Driver             Team           Time       Gap
 1. Sam Dejonghe       Virtuosi       1m17.956s
 2. Markus Pommer      Supernova      1m18.019s  +0.063s
 3. Kimiya Sato        Euronova       1m18.326s  +0.370s
 4. Tamas Pal Kiss     Zele           1m18.454s  +0.498s
 5. Andrea Roda        Virtuosi       1m18.502s  +0.546s
 6. Michela Cerruti    Supernova      1m18.698s  +0.742s
 7. Kevin Giovesi      Eurotech       1m19.330s  +1.374s
 8. Loris Spinelli     Eurotech       1m19.547s  +1.591s
 9. Yoshitaka Kuroda   Zele           1m20.140s  +2.184s
10. Giuseppe Cipriani  Ibiza          1m20.450s  +2.494s
11. Michele La Rosa    Euronova       1m21.113s  +3.157s
12. Niccolo Schiro     Ibiza          1m21.862s  +3.906s

Practice 2

Pos Driver             Team           Time       Gap
 1. Tamas Pal Kiss      Zele         1m17.808s
 2. Kimiya Sato         Euronova     1m17.939s  +0.131s
 3. Kevin Giovesi       Eurotech     1m18.157s  +0.349s
 4. Markus Pommer       Supernova    1m18.241s  +0.433s
 5. Andrea Roda         Virtuosi     1m18.526s  +0.718s
 6. Michela Cerruti     Supernova    1m18.613s  +0.805s
 7. Loris Spinelli      Eurotech     1m18.841s  +1.033s
 8. Sam Dejonghe        Virtuosi     1m19.054s  +1.246s
 9. Yoshitaka Kuroda    Zele         1m19.479s  +1.671s
10. Giuseppe Cipriani   Ibiza        1m19.617s  +1.809s
11. Michele La Rosa     Euronova     1m19.640s  +1.832s
12. Niccolo Schiro      Ibiza        1m24.280s  +6.472s

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