Christian Vietoris set the fastest time in the final seconds of GP2 free practice at Istanbul Park on Friday.
The German was expected to be at a disadvantage at the start of this season, because he was the only front runner to skip the two Asia series rounds earlier this year. He has also had to settle back into GP2 after making his DTM debut for Mercedes at Hockenheim last week, but he proved that none of those factors have held him back by knocking Romain Grosjean off top spot in the final seconds of the session.
Track conditions improved vastly in comparison to the first Formula 1 free practice session that preceded the GP2 cars going out. But it was still treacherous in the early minutes of the session, and just six minutes in, Esteban Gutierrez brought out the red flags with a carbon copy of Sebastian Vettel's crash on the exit of Turn 8.
The Mexican's ART teammate Jules Bianchi then made the same error, but his contact with the wall on the inside was only slight, and he only had to spend four minutes in the pits before returning to the track to go second fastest at the time.
Grosjean had set the pace for much of the session, as he clearly pushed harder than his rivals in the early running. But as the standing water on track started to clear, everybody began to improve their lap times.
Giedo van der Garde went fastest with eight minutes remaining, and he held on to that until the final minute as yellow flags were out while marshals tried to push Dani Clos' car out of the grass after the Racing Engineering driver spun coming out of Turn 8.
When the track was clear again, Grosjean responded to take first place back at the end, but just seconds later Vietoris (Racing Engineering) came across the line to go 0.2sec quicker. Van der Garde had to settle for third ahead of a relieved Bianchi, while a late effort from Max Chilton put him into the top five.