Luca Filippi was quickest in free practice as GP2 Asia resumed in Abu Dhabi after its three month break.
On a circuit initially covered in dust following an earlier sandstorm, Meritus driver Filippi came through to snatch the top spot from championship leader Davide Valsecchi (iSport) in the closing seconds. Filippi's session was not flawless however, as it included a collision with Valsecchi's iSport team-mate Oliver Turvey.
Sam Bird took third for ART, with his new team-mate - and Formula 3 Euro Series champion - Jules Bianchi seventh in his first official GP2 session.
Arden's Charles Pic was fourth, having mounted a strong challenge before spinning at the final corner of his last lap.
Addax returnee Sergio Perez and Ocean's Fabio Leimer completed the top six.
The session was delayed by 20 minutes early on when Coloni's Alberto Valerio spun into a barrier and left the marshals struggling to dislodge his car.
Practice took place at dusk, with qualifying set to run under lights at 8.30pm local time tonight.
Pos Driver Team Time Gap 1. Luca Filippi Meritus 1m54.146s 2. Davide Valsecchi iSport 1m54.431s + 0.285 3. Sam Bird ART 1m54.775s + 0.629 4. Charles Pic Arden 1m54.803s + 0.657 5. Sergio Perez Addax 1m54.824s + 0.678 6. Fabio Leimer Ocean 1m54.904s + 0.758 7. Jules Bianchi ART 1m54.971s + 0.825 8. Alexander Rossi Meritus 1m55.077s + 0.931 9. Giedo van der Garde Addax 1m55.102s + 0.956 10. Giacomo Ricci DPR 1m55.107s + 0.961 11. Edoardo Piscopo DAMS 1m55.172s + 1.026 12. Josef Kral Super Nova 1m55.222s + 1.076 13. Javier Villa Arden 1m55.347s + 1.201 14. Oliver Turvey iSport 1m55.481s + 1.335 15. Christian Vietoris DAMS 1m55.563s + 1.417 16. Michael Herck DPR 1m55.821s + 1.675 17. Marcus Ericsson Super Nova 1m55.971s + 1.825 18. Dani Clos Trident 1m56.295s + 2.149 19. Max Chilton Ocean 1m56.308s + 2.162 20. Vladimir Arabadzhiev Rapax 1m56.330s + 2.184 21. Daniel Zampieri Rapax 1m56.646s + 2.500 22. Will Bratt Coloni 1m56.659s + 2.513 23. Plamen Kralev Trident 1m59.971s + 5.825 24. Alberto Valerio Coloni