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NOGARO, France – Friday’s double practice sessions got the 2012 Euro-Racecar season off to a fast start, with top driver Ander Vilarino topping the 2011 pole time by nearly a second.
Vilarino posted a lap of 1 minutes, 34.965 seconds around the 3,636-meter (2.259 miles) Circuit Paul Armagnac in the afternoon session in advance of the weekend’s season-opening Nogaro 200.
Vilarino, who finished third in points last season, was .392 faster than Romain Thievin. Thieven was the 2011 series runner-up and was second fastest overall at 1:34.965.
Javier Villa, a rookie to the series’ ELITE Championship ranks, had the fastest time in the morning session at 1:35.413 – third fastest overall. Villa, a 25-year-old Spanish driver, trained in open-wheel, grew up in GP2 Series, the access series to Formula 1, where he collected several races several times. Last year, he races in WTCC, the World Championship of Tourism Cars, with BMW.
Thieven was second fastest in the morning at 1:35.533, followed by Vilarino at 1:35.759. Antoine Lioen and Romain Ianetta rounded out the top five. Following Vilarino and Thieven in the afternoon was Vila with a lap of 1:35.936, then rookie Anthony Garbarino and Gonneau.
Saturday’s qualifying for the 25-car grid will begin at 11 a.m. GMT for Elite drivers and 3:15 p.m. for the Open division.
Every driver will commemorate Christian Delpech all weekend long. He was the owner of the team Pole Position 81 which is involved in the championship from its very beginning, and he passed away unexpectedly on Tuesday, April 3 at age 58. The Series will observe a minute’s silence on Sunday at 10:15 a.m. between the Elite Sprint race and the Clio Cup race, which Christian was involved for years.