FC Basels Max Wissel smashed the Jarama lap record in free practice this morning ahead of qualifying for the Superleague Formula season finale.
Galatasarays Ho Pin Tung, showing no ill effects from his Race of Champions exploits in China earlier this week, set the pace early on when he produced the sessions first meaningful time of 1m20.656s. It would take over 20 minutes for it to be troubled, FC Midtjylland and Olympiacos slotting in behind the Chinese below the 81 second mark.
Sebastien Bourdais continued his strong run of form with the third fastest time to become the only man to feature in the top three throughout all three sessions, while title rivals, Liverpools Adrian Valles and Tottenhams Craig Dolby, finished practice only 10th and 15th
Earlier, Dolby signalled his weekends intentions by topping the opening session with a time of 1m22.459s to temporarily hold the record, beating FC Midtjyllands Kasper Andersen by 0.137 seconds. The Dane was followed closely in third by the ever-present Bourdais and Wissel.
Valles meanwhile was content with sixth, his best of 1m23.116s proving 0.657 seconds shy of his rivals time.
As the track rubbered in so the times began to tumble, Yelmer Buurman taking his turn at the head of the field in second practice with a 1m20.783s lap, to finish 1.375 seconds clear of second placed Bourdais. Just half a second covered the rest of the top ten, Portos Tristan Gommendy, Valles and Wissel completing the first five while Dolby had to make do with 14th.
Max Wissel (FC Basel): Im very happy and a little surprised to be fastest. We put new tyres on at the end and the balance immediately felt good. We have the strongest group in qualifying but in the past we have always made it through to the knockout stages and I hope to be in the final.
Adrian Valles (Liverpool): Its quite a difficult circuit but nice to drive, particularly the sections which go up and down. We were quite competitive on old tyres, which is encouraging and Im confident now ahead of qualifying.
Craig Dolby (Tottenham): Practice was a bit up and down for us. The first session was really good, but we have only used old tyres so far. My team-mate found 3.2 seconds on his new tyre run so if I can do the same Ill be ok.
Qualifying kicks off at 2.30pm CET where Liverpool and Tottenham have been drawn in the same knockout group.