Practice: Montagny sets early pace

Championship leader Franck Montagny set the pace on the opening day of free practice for round three of the Dallara Nissan World Series at Magny-Cours. The Gabord Competicion driver was quickest in both of the day's sessions, but Carlin Motorsport's Narain Karthikeyan showed that the local favourite will not have things his own way, getting within half a second of the Renault Formula 1 test driver

Practice: Montagny sets early pace

In spite of running new tyres in the second 45-minute session, Montagny was unable to improve on his morning best of 1m27.659s.

He said: "The car was okay this morning, but this afternoon it was sliding too much and I couldn't feel the grip. I wasn't expecting to get P1, so I am feeling confident. You don't have to be half a second quicker than the rest to take pole."

Karthikeyan was fifth in morning practice and was also fast during unofficial testing on Thursday. He's hopeful of translating that form into a good grid position.

"I keep making mistakes in the final sector," he said. "I'm the quickest through the first two, but I'm losing out at the new corner before the final chicane. I'm confident for qualifying, so long as it doesn't rain."

The second Carlin car of Bruce Jouanny was third quickest in the combined times, ahead of Montagny's Gabord team-mate Heikki Kovalainen. Stephane Sarrazin made it three Frenchman in the top five for Racing Engineering, while RC Motorsport's Polo Vilaamil was the quickest Spaniard in sixth fastest overall, but was one the few drivers not to run new tyres in the second session.

With no Williams Formula 1 testing commitments, Marc Gene was able to take his place at Adrian Campos Motorsport from the off, but despite the extra track time, the Spaniard has yet to realise the full potential of the car and was 14th overall, setting the 10th best time in the second session.

Championship frontrunner Bas Leinders had a tough day for Racing Engineering, suffering a gearbox problem, which kept him out of the second session. He was back in 20th overall, ahead of only GD Racing's new signing Mathieu Zangarelli and Ricardo Gonzalez, who brought out the red flags midway through the second session with an off into the gravel.

Franck Montagny Gabord Competicion 1m27.659s
Narain Karthikeyan Tata Team Carlin 1m28.123s
Bruce Jouanny Carlin Motorsport 1m28.251s
Heikki Kovalainen Gabord Competicion 1m28.294s
Stephane Sarrazin Racing Engineering 1m28.528s
Polo Villaamil RC Motorsport 1m28.769s
Bruno Besson Saulnier Racing 1m28.854s
Ander Vilarino Epsilon Euskadi 1m28.975s
Carlos Pereira RC Motorsport 1m29.025s
Jean Christophe Ravier Epsilon Euskadi 1m29.057s
Angel Burgueno Respol Racing for Spain Vergani 1m29.121s
Felix Porteiro KTR 1m29.188s
Norbert Seidler Superfund Zele Racing 1m29.312s
Marc Gene Adrian Campos Motorsport 1m29.539s
Santiago Porteiro Adrian Campos Motorsport 1m29.572s
Didier Andre Saulnier Racing 1m29.652s
Enrique Bernoldi GD Racing 1m29.657s
Tuka Rocha Superfund Zele Racing 1m29.790s
Paul Edwards KTR 1m30.007s
Bas Leinders Racing Engineering 1m30.055s
Mathieu Zangarelli GD Racing 1m30.597s
Ricardo Gonzalez Vergani Formula 1m31.504s

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