Kevin Magnussen stole top spot from title rival Stoffel Vandoorne in the dying seconds of Formula Renault 3.5 free practice at Paul Ricard on Friday
Championship leader Magnussen, who had comfortably led the morning session, knocked Vandoorne out of first place with 10 seconds left in the afternoon running.
The Dane then made use of his final lap to go another 0.2 seconds faster, becoming the only driver to get under the 1m48s barrier all day and extending his margin over fellow McLaren junior Vandoorne to three tenths of a second.
The title protagonists had been relatively quiet in the second session until the final five minutes, with the Lotus entries of Marco Sorensen and Marlon Stockinger and Comtec pair Daniil Move and Lucas Foresti leading the way for much of the afternoon.
Vandoorne, who had only been fifth quickest in the morning, appeared to have stolen the fastest lap of the day from Magnussen when he beat his rival's session-topping time from the morning.
But Magnussen, who can seal the title this weekend, fired an ominous shot with his two laps at the end in response.
Vandoorne had admitted earlier in the day that he and Fortec have to find an answer to Magnussen's pace over a single lap if he is to keep the title fight alive.
"We know Kevin is very quick in qualifying," he told AUTOSPORT. "It doesn't matter if he is then a bit slower in the race, because he already has track position."
Hungaroring race one winner Nico Muller carried his form from the last round into this weekend as he and the Draco team looked strong again, with the Swiss driver ending the day third fastest ahead of Sorensen and Stockinger.
Only 25 cars took part in Friday's running, as ISR's Sergey Sirotkin skipped free practice to perform a Formula 1 demo run for Sauber as part of his preparations for a race drive with the team next year.
Session one Pos Driver Team Time Gap Laps 1. Kevin Magnussen DAMS 1m48.392s 19 2. Nico Muller Draco 1m48.568s +0.176s 22 3. Andre Negrao Draco 1m48.841s +0.449s 23 4. Antonio F. da Costa Arden Caterham 1m48.884s +0.492s 21 5. Stoffel Vandoorne Fortec 1m48.975s +0.583s 25 6. Norman Nato DAMS 1m48.986s +0.594s 22 7. Daniil Move Comtec 1m49.019s +0.627s 22 8. Pietro Fantin Arden Caterham 1m49.058s +0.666s 23 9. Will Stevens P1 by Strakka 1m49.188s +0.796s 21 10. Christopher Zanella ISR 1m49.304s +0.912s 21 11. Lucas Foresti Comtec 1m49.388s +0.996s 22 12. Nigel Melker Tech 1 1m49.390s +0.998s 22 13. Matias Laine P1 by Strakka 1m49.407s +1.015s 20 14. Oliver Webb Fortec 1m49.420s +1.028s 24 15. Zoel Amberg Pons 1m49.541s +1.149s 20 16. Jazeman Jaafar Carlin 1m49.578s +1.186s 18 17. Mikhail Aleshin Tech 1 1m49.614s +1.222s 23 18. Carlos Sainz Jr. Zeta Corse 1m49.730s +1.338s 21 19. Marlon Stockinger Lotus 1m49.908s +1.516s 15 20. Carlos Huertas Carlin 1m49.914s +1.522s 20 21. Arthur Pic AV Formula 1m50.290s +1.898s 14 22. Marco Sorensen Lotus 1m50.508s +2.116s 9 23. William Buller Zeta Corse 1m50.523s +2.131s 13 24. Yann Cunha AV Formula 1m50.649s +2.257s 20 25. Nikolay Martsenko Pons Session two Pos Driver Team Time Gap Laps 1. Kevin Magnussen DAMS 1m47.836s 22 2. Stoffel Vandoorne Fortec 1m48.204s +0.368s 24 3. Nico Muller Draco 1m48.221s +0.385s 21 4. Marco Sorensen Lotus 1m48.313s +0.477s 23 5. Marlon Stockinger Lotus 1m48.338s +0.502s 20 6. Antonio F.da Costa Arden Caterham 1m48.553s +0.717s 21 7. Carlos Sainz Jr. Zeta Corse 1m48.683s +0.847s 17 8. Will Stevens P1 by Strakka 1m48.687s +0.851s 19 9. Arthur Pic AV Formula 1m48.732s +0.896s 23 10. William Buller Zeta Corse 1m48.762s +0.926s 21 11. Daniil Move Comtec 1m48.889s +1.053s 20 12. Lucas Foresti Comtec 1m48.893s +1.057s 20 13. Norman Nato DAMS 1m48.930s +1.094s 23 14. Matias Laine P1 by Strakka 1m48.974s +1.138s 19 15. Nigel Melker Tech 1 1m49.099s +1.263s 20 16. Andre Negrao Draco 1m49.121s +1.285s 21 17. Mikhail Aleshin Tech 1 1m49.215s +1.379s 22 18. Oliver Webb Fortec 1m49.319s +1.483s 21 19. Nikolay Martsenko Pons 1m49.375s +1.539s 23 20. Pietro Fantin Arden Caterham 1m49.643s +1.807s 23 21. Jazeman Jaafar Carlin 1m49.671s +1.835s 20 22. Zoel Amberg Pons 1m49.779s +1.943s 22 23. Carlos Huertas Carlin 1m49.878s +2.042s 15 24. Yann Cunha AV Formula 1m50.519s +2.683s 20 25. Christopher Zanella ISR 1m50.651s +2.815s 14
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