MP Motorsport driver Dennis Hauger made a solid start to this weekend’s action in Jeddah by setting the fastest time in Free Practice in preparations for Qualifying later today.

Hauger led the way for most of the session but completed a lap of 1:43.793 late in the proceedings to lead his nearest rival, Invicta Racing’s Kush Maini by over a tenth.

The Norwegian and the rest of the 21 drivers were quickly out on track setting fast laps on the medium tyre as they looked to get up to speed around Jeddah in the 45 minutes of practice time ahead of Qualifying.

With 15 minutes of running in the books, Hauger had set the benchmark time thanks to his lap of 1:45.558, with Enzo Fittipaldi in second, 0.197s behind.

Moments later Fittipaldi’s Van Amersfoort Racing teammate Rafael Villagómez brought out the Red Flags after the Mexican rookie crashed into the barriers at Turn 17.

This brought a halt to proceedings as the marshals cleared his car from the track. Villagómez had quickly jumped out of the cockpit and made his way back to the pits on foot.

The drivers were back churning through the laps with a quarter of the session remaining. The track was now offering more grip which Hauger used to his advantage to improve on his pace-setting efforts twice, before completing a final lap of 1:43.793 to end the session quickest of all.

Maini proved to be Hauger’s nearest rival in second as he finished just 0.103 off the pace, with Victor Martins rounding out the top three for ART Grand Prix – the Frenchman a constant presence in the top five throughout the session.

Oliver Bearman looked to be back on form for PREMA Racing, ending the session in P4 ahead of DAMS Lucas Oil drivers Jak Crawford in fifth and Juan Manuel Correa in seventh.

Trident’s Richard Verschoor was sixth fastest ahead of Rodin Motorsport’s Zane Maloney in P8. Andrea Kimi Antonelli ended up ninth on the leaderboard for PREMA just in front of Invicta rookie Gabriel Bortoleto in 10th.

Qualifying from the Jeddah Corniche Circuit is set to begin at 18:00 local time later today.