Alexander Sims put in a late lap to top the first GP3 practice session of the weekend at Valencia. The Status Grand Prix driver came out on top as a group of quick times were all set within seconds of each other with two minutes remaining.
Just before Sims crossed the line to set the session-topping lap, frequent pace-setters Tom Dillmann and Mitch Evans had very brief final spells at the head of the field.
Dillmann, returning to the series with Addax for the first time since taking pole position and a podium finish for Carlin at the Istanbul season-opener, enjoyed several spells at the top of the order. But, in the end, he had to settle for third, as first Evans and then Sims came into play.
Evans was on course to challenge Sims again in the final seconds, but he had to sacrifice his final lap due to yellow flags. Nigel Melker was another to suffer the same fate, so he had to back off and settle for fifth.
Gabby Chaves made it two Addax cars in the top four, and the team was on course to have all three of its cars at the sharp end before Dean Smith crashed at the second corner after setting what was the fifth fastest lap at the halfway stage.
ART's Valtteri Bottas was one of the pace-setters in the early minutes of the session, although he had a brief scare when he bounced along the curb on the start/finish straight when on course to go fastest. He improved late on to go third, but was eventually bumped down to sixth.