Swiss trio Alex Fontana, Matheo Tuscher and Christopher Zanella posted the fastest times in Friday practice for the FIA Formula Two Championship at Paul Ricard.

Zanella, who scored a double win in the championship's visit to France in 2011 (at Magny-Cours), had the fastest time in the first session.

Reading's Daniel McKenzie had led the way for much of the 45 minutes, before Zanella bettered his effort with his final flying lap to top the timesheets by 0.17 seconds.

Markus Pommer finished up just shy of McKenzie's time in third place, while championship leader Luciano Bacheta was 0.475s off the pace in fourth.

Fresh from his maiden podium appearance on home soil at Brands Hatch last weekend, Bristol's Dino Zamparelli managed the fifth fastest time, while Mauro Calamia was the last man within a second of his fellow Swiss driver Zanella and an impressive sixth on the leaderboard.

Zimbabwean Axcil Jefferies was seventh, while Hampshire's Hector Hurst edged out Brands Hatch Race 2 victor Mihai Marinescu for eighth. Tuscher and Fontana were tenth and 11th, with Kevin Mirocha 12th of the 14 runners after his maiden F2 win at Brands Hatch.

Fontana hit the pace at the start of the later session, posting the quickest time of the session with just his second timed lap. His time was a 1m52.841s, compared to Zanella’s 1m54.562s from the first session.

Tuscher moved into P2 towards the end of the session, but was 0.349s away from his compatriot. Zanella was 0.41s off top spot, while McKenzie also continued to be on the pace in fourth.

Mirocha took fifth, ahead of Bacheta. Pommer was 1.2s off the pace in seventh, ahead of Zamparelli and Plamen Kralev. Marinescu propped up the times, 3.3s adrift, behind Jefferies, Hurst, Zhu and Calamia.