Practice: Karthikeyan quickest

Gabord Competicion's Franck Montagny has already sewn up the Dallara Nissan World Series title, but a fierce seven-way battle rages for second position in the standings. First blood at Valencia was taken this weekend by Tata Team Carlin's Narain Karthikeyan, who set the pace on the opening day of practice

Practice: Karthikeyan quickest

Karthikeyan, like all 19 drivers present, set his best lap in the second of the two sessions. He is confident of converting his form into a good qualifying pace on Saturday.

"If I can put a lap together it should be okay," he said. "I really need to get my first win if I am to achieve my aim of finishing second in the championship."

New champion Montagny did not run in the first session, but in spite of his lack of track time he finish up second fastest, just 0.02 behind Karthikeyan. In fact, it was yet another highly competitive session, with the top six covered by less than 0.2s.

RC Motorsport's Polo Vilaamil had a strong run to set the third best time ahead of ex-Arrows grand prix driver, GD Racing's Enrique Bernoldi. Racing Engineering's pair of Bas Leinders and Stephane Sarrazin, who are also fighting for second in the standings, were fifth and sixth quickest.

Two more of the seven runner-up contenders, Jean Christophe Ravier (Epsilon Euskadi) and Heikki Kovalainen, who like Gabord team-mate Montagny missed the opening session, were next up in seventh and eighth. It was not such a good session for the seventh contender, Ravier's team-mate, and winner of the last round at Barcelona, Ander Vilarino. The Basque driver was only 11th, over a second slower than Karthikeyan.

Le Mans 24 Hours winner, Guy Smith, was a respectable 17th on his first outing for Zele Racing, who return to the series after missing the Barcelona races. Former Zele driver Norbert Siedler was 13th fastest for RC Motorsport and is now fully recovered from the illness that forced him to sit out the last race.

Narain Karthikeyan Tata Team Carlin 1m23.583s
Franck Montagny Gabord Competicion +0.020s
Polo Villaamil RC Motorsport +0.111s
Enrique Bernoldi GD Racing +0.188s
Bas Leinders Racing Engineering + 0.168s
Stephane Sarrazin Racing Engineering +0.197s
Jean Christophe Ravier Epsilon Euskadi +0.506s
Heikki Kovalainen Gabord Competicion +0.524s
Bruno Besson Saulnier Racing +0.703s
Didier Andre Saulnier Racing +0.712s
Ander Vilarino Epsilon Euskadi +1.055s
Angel Burgueno Respol Racing for Spain Vergani +1.097s
Norbert Seidler Superfund Zele Racing +1.109s
Felix Porteiro KTR +1.209s
Santiago Porteiro Adrian Campos Motorsport +1.298s
Jose Marie Perez Aicart Adrian Campos Motorsport +1.462s
Guy Smith Superfund Zele Racing +1.789s
Bruce Jouanny Carlin Motorsport +1.896s
Paul Edwards KTR +2.001s

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