The returning Josef Kral was fastest in free practice ahead of qualifying for Saturday's GP2 Series feature race in Barcelona after setting the fastest time on Friday morning around the Circuit de Catalunya.
Kral, who raced in the season opener for Barwa Addax Team at Sepang in Malaysia, was dropped in favor of Dani Clos for the recent Bahrain doubleheader. With Clos making his Formula 1 race weekend debut with HRT in free practice, a fired up Kral returned and banged in his 1m31.109s 10 minutes into the session.
Before Kral hit the front, most recent round winner Tom Dillmann set the early pace for Rapax before he was knocked off the top spot by first Felipe Nasr of DAMS and then Caterham Racing's Giedo van der Garde.
Britain's James Calado kept his powder dry in the pitlane in the early stages before going out to set the second-fastest time for Lotus GP, his 1m31.168s just 0.059sec off the pace. Nasr stayed third, ahead of van der Garde and Dillmann.
Points dominator Davide Valsecchi was sixth-fastest for DAMS, the Italian suffering a flapping left-sidepod turning vane. Second in points, Luiz Razia, was only 10th fastest for Arden International.
Calado's Lotus teammate Esteban Gutierrez was down in 18th after a series of brake lock-ups from the man who lies third in the championship.
Laps were limited in practice, as Pirelli has mandated the soft-compound option tire for this event, which is likely to be used effectively as a qualifying tire this afternoon. As teams are limited with their scope for laps on the prime tire, the drivers didn't complete a huge amount of running – only five got into double figures during the 30-minute session.