Tom Dillmann emerged quickest from Formula Renault 3.5 free practie on Friday ahead of this weekend's penultimate round of the series at Le Mans
The Frenchman's time of 1m22.321s was recorded with a minute to spare in the second 50-minute session in the afternoon.
Carlin racer Dillmann, who is seeking a maiden win in the series, edged out Arden's Egor Orudzhev by 0.310s while Red Bull junior racer Dean Stoneman took third.
Only the top trio from the afternoon session succeeded in eclipsing championship leader Oliver Rowland's fastest time from the morning of 1m22.791s.
The Racing Steps Foundation-backed Fortec driver produced the benchmark FP1 effort on his final lap, to lead title adversary Matthieu Vaxiviere by 0.777s.
Track limit violations, an occasional source of contention on FR3.5's previous visits to the Le Mans Bugatti track, again appeared an issue during practice, and several drivers had times deleted.
Rowland was among many to fall foul of the strict track limit rules, and he suggested cones or bollards could have assisted in reducing the number of transgressions.
"The track limits here are difficult," said Rowland. "It would have been much better if they'd kept the cones out [from Thursday's track walk], but apparently the circuit isn't homologated for FR3.5 to race with them."
Fresh from his second victory of the season at the Nurburgring a fortnight ago, Tio Ellinas ended FP1 a close third, just 0.128s behind Vaxiviere.
DAMS racer Stoneman was fourth, ahead of a competitive showing by series returnee Andre Negrao in the lone Draco entry.
AVF driver Beistke Visser ended a closely contested morning session in a strong sixth, and a tenth up on this season's respective Hungaroring and Monaco winners, Orudzhev and Jazeman Jaafar.
ART Grand Prix GP3 driver Alfonso Celis caused the only stoppage of the morning when his AVF machine came to rest with an alternator problem at Turn 10 after just six minutes.
The second session was red-flagged twice after incidents for Jazeman Jaafar and Auto GP refugee Nikita Zlobin.
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