Max Defourny continued to head the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 field as post-season testing moved on to Paul Ricard.
After dominating proceedings at Aragon last week, the Belgian – continuing with his 2015 squad ART Junior Team – set the fastest time of the first day in France with a 2m02.985s in the morning.
Josef Kaufmann Racing rookie Lando Norris topped the afternoon running but fell six hundredths of a second shy of Defourny’s benchmark.
?Once again, it was a good day,” said Defourny.
“We set a good time in the morning before focusing on other things.
“Our time would have been better if we went with new tyres in the afternoon like everyone else, but the most important thing is that we continue to progress.?
Norris was also pleased with his performance, given his lack of track experience.
?This was my first day at Paul Ricard,” he said. “I didn?t prepare on the simulator – I usually do – so I needed some time to get used to everything, not like some drivers, especially those who have come over from the French F4 Championship who had already driven here.
“This morning, a few problems prevented me from going out when I needed to, but this afternoon was rather good despite a few mistakes on my run with new tyres.?
Norris’ team-mate and Force India protege Jehan Daruvala was second to Defourny in the morning, 0.323 seconds down.
Australian James Allen, a veteran of two previous FR2.0 seasons, was third for JD Motorsport ahead of a trio of Tech 1 drivers, Hugo de Sadeleer and French F4 graduates Sacha Fenestraz and Gabriel Aubry.
Another French F4 driver Giuliano Alesi was seventh alongside fellow ART tester Julien Falchero, while Fortec’s Bruno Baptista was ninth and Norris 10th.
In the afternoon, de Sadeleer took second ahead of Daruvala, Defourny, Fenestraz and Aubry.
Allen, Alesi and Falchero were next, with the top 10 completed by Nikita Troitskiy, testing for Fortec after his MRF Challenge programme kept him away from Aragon.
Novelties outside the top 10 included Norris’ MSA Formula rival Ricky Collard returning with AVF after debuting at Jerez last month, Vasily Romanov switching from Cram to Fortec and Valentin Hasse-Clot out with Mark Burdett Motorsport.
Combined day one times
|Pos||Driver||Team||Session 1||Session 2|
|1||Max Defourny||ART Junior Team||2:02.985||2:03.389|
|2||Lando Norris||Josef Kauffmann Racing||2:05.136||2:03.045|
|3||Hugo de Sadeleer||Tech 1 Racing||2:03.644||2:03.216|
|4||Jehan Daruvala||Josef Kaufmann Racing||2:03.308||2:03.389|
|5||Sacha Fenestraz||Tech 1 Racing||2:03.654||2:03.464|
|6||Gabriel Aubry||Tech 1 Racing||2:04.132||2:03.519|
|7||James Allen||JD Motorsport||2:03.619||2:03.637|
|8||Giuliano Alesi||ART Junior Team||2:04.255||2:03.953|
|9||Julien Falchero||ART Junior||2:04.763||2:04.067|
|10||Nikita Troitskiy||Fortec Motorsports||2:05.372||2:04.083|
|12||Alexey Korneev||JD Motorsport||2:06.041||2:04.308|
|14||Ferdinand Habsburg||Fortec Motorsports||2:05.233||2:04.382|
|15||Vasily Romanov||Fortec Motorsports||2:06.434||2:04.395|
|16||Valentin Hasse-Clot||Mark Burdett Motorsport||2:05.883||2:04.406|
|17||Bruno Baptista||Fortec Motorsports||2:05.048||2:04.635|
|18||Keyvan Soori||Tech 1 Racing||2:07.145||2:05.434|
|20||Pietro Peccinini||TS Corse||2:07.145||2:08.486|
|21||Finlay Hutchison||Hutchison Racing||2:09.382||2:08.365|
|22||Alessandro Buran||TS Corse||2:09.978||2:08.486|
|23||Ghislain Cordeel||JD Motorsport||2:10.179||2:08.537|