Championship outsider Richie Stanaway was fastest in free practice at Sochi as the Status Grand Prix driver aims to cut into the 50-point deficit to Alex Lynn this weekend to have a shot at taking the championship battle to Abu Dhabi next month.
Should Lynn leave Russia with more than a 48-point advantage, he will be crowned the champion this weekend, but Stanaway and a few other drivers will want to prevent that happening.
Stanaway was the only driver to set a lap time underneath 1:53s, with his 1:52.876s almost a quarter of a second clear of Dean Stoneman, who is making his first appearance of the season for Koiranen GP having switched over from the absent Marussia Manor Racing team.
Emil Bernstorff was third quickest for Carlin ahead of compatriot Dino Zamparelli of ART Grand Prix, while Zamparelli’s team-mates Marvin Kirchhofer and Alex Fontana were fifth and seventh, surrounding Lynn’s Carlin.
Nick Yelloly was eighth for Status Grand Prix ahead of Jimmy Eriksson of Koiranen GP, who also has an outside chance at the title, while Matheo Tuscher was tenth for Jenzer Motorsport.
Qualifying for race one takes place on Saturday morning ahead of the opening race in the afternoon.
Sochi Practice Times
|1||Richie Stanaway||NZL||Status Grand Prix||1:52.876|
|2||Dean Stoneman||GBR||Koiranen GP||1:53.109|
|4||Dino Zamparelli||GBR||ART Grand Prix||1:53.305|
|5||Marvin Kirchhofer||GER||ART Grand Prix||1:53.325|
|7||Alex Fontana||SWI||ART Grand Prix||1:53.414|
|8||Nick Yelloly||GBR||Status Grand Prix||1:53.464|
|9||Jimmy Eriksson||SWE||Koiranen GP||1:53.485|
|10||Matheo Tuscher||SWI||Jenzer Motorsport||1:53.550|
|11||Patric Niederhauser||SWI||Arden International||1:53.570|
|12||Robert Visoiu||ROM||Arden International||1:53.591|
|13||Patrick Kujala||FIN||Trident Racing||1:53.972|
|14||Pal Varhaug||NOR||Jenzer Motorsport||1:54.018|
|15||Jann Mardenborough||GBR||Arden International||1:54.062|
|16||Kevin Ceccon||ITA||Jenzer Motorsport||1:54.068|
|17||Nelson Mason||CAN||Hilmer Motorsport||1:54.518|
|18||Riccardo Agostini||ITA||Hilmer Motorsport||1:54.546|
|19||Alfonso Celis Jr||MEX||Status Grand Prix||1:54.672|
|20||Mitchell Gilbert||AUS||Trident Racing||1:54.915|
|21||Luis Sa Silva||MAC||Carlin||1:54.925|
|22||Santiago Urrutia||URU||Koiranen GP||1:54.991|
|23||Nikolay Martsenko||RUS||Hilmer Motorsport||1:55.669|