Abbi Pulling got her return to the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya off to an ideal start, with the Alpine driver’s 1:42.474 the time to beat in the only Free Practice session of the weekend. Bianca Bustamante matched the Standings leader’s efforts in P2, whilst Red Bull Racing’s Hamda Al Qubaisi rounded out the top three.

It was a leisurely start to the session, with the teams holding on to their tyres until later into running due to the high levels of degradation. Pin got the first time of the day on the board after 12 minutes, lowering her initial benchmark of 1:51.489 down to 1:43.890.

Tina Hausmann immediately bettered her PREMA Racing teammate’s effort by less than a tenth. Bustamante, Chloe Chambers, Nerea Martí and Hamda Al Qubaisi all took brief trips to the top of the timing sheets, as the time to beat dropped into the 1:42s.

Pulling was next to go quickest of all, with the Briton’s 1:42.474 putting her two tenths clear of Hamda Al Qubaisi and Martí, as the field steadily filtered into the pits for a short break with 16 minutes to go.

Once the track filled back up, Bustamante set about closing the gap, posting an identical time to Pulling to slot into second. One of the few drivers to improve in the latter stages, Lia Block slotted into fifth, 0.367s behind.

READ MORE: Barcelona Preview: Talking points ahead of Round 3

As the tyres went past their peak, the focus switched from lap times to mileage. Carrie Schreiner and Maya Weug kept themselves busy with 15 laps a piece, but nobody could overhaul Pulling’s effort before the chequered flag.

Martí quickly got up to speed on home soil in fourth, ahead of Block and American Express driver Jessica Edgar. Schreiner finished seventh ahead of Amna Al Qubaisi, Aurelia Nobels and Doriane Pin, who was nine-tenths off Pulling’s Practice-topping time.

Two pole positions will be to play for when Qualifying gets underway at 18:30 on Friday evening.