Evan Giltaire topped the times in free practice for the opening round of the French Formula 4 championship at Nogaro.
The French karting sensation finished the 30-minute session 0.12 seconds ahead of Enzo Peugeot, a returning double race-winner from 2022, with Pol Lopez a further 0.22s back in third.
Giltaire and Peugeot dominated the session, trading times at the top of the timesheet throughout. Giltaire was the first driver to break the 1m30s mark on his fifth lap, before Peugeot moved to the front on the next tour.
Peugeot was flying in the middle of the session and improving on each of his subsequent two laps to lower the benchmark to 1m29.330s.
Giltaire responded on the tenth lap, setting a best time in the first sector on the way to a 1m29.206s laptimes.
Ultimately, these laps would remain as the fastest as the session was interrupted by a red flag with just over 13 minutes remaining when American Garrett Berry, who had been one of the early pacesetters and was lying in fifth position, went off into the gravel at Turn 4.
Although practice resumed with 10 minutes on the clock there were no further improvements, with Giltaire unable to better his own benchmark on his final lap despite setting a the fastest sector two split of anyone.
Adrien Closmenil was fourth fastest after putting in a couple of quick laps in the middle of practice to move into second at the time, with Berry in fifth.
Enzo Richer was sixth, having remained in the pits after the stoppage, with Kevin Foster, fastest in Friday’s private practice sessions, in seventh.
Series sophomores Edgar Pierre and Max Reis had to settle for 17th and 22nd place respectively, with Reis making four pit stops in total and going 1.8s slower than Giltaire.
Pierre, together with Yani Stevenheydens and Closmeni, all had moments at Turn 7 but were able to rejoin, while track limits at Turn 9 caught out Giltaire, Foster, Leonardo Megna and Stevenheydens.
One driver who was missing from the official practice session, having set the 15th-fastest time in Friday’s test day, was 14-year-old Arthur Dorison, reigning French junior karting champion, who will be ineligible to join the series officially until his 15th birthday.
Free practice results
|23||Frank Porte Ruiz||1m31.198s||+1.992s|
|26||Joao Paulo Diaz Balesteiro||1m31.710s||+2.504s|