Pietro Fantin has kicked off the second-half of the 2015 Formula Renault 3.5 Championship season by topping the timesheets in first free practice at Silverstone by a clear margin.

Going fastest before a late red flag period to clear Tio Ellinas' stopped Strakka car prevented any improvements in the final ten minutes, Draco racer Fantin would emerge half-a-second clear of the chasing pack.

Title contender Matthieu Vaxiviere led that chasing pack in second position, ahead of McLaren prot?g? Nyck de Vries and the hampered Ellinas, while Dean Stoneman flew the flag for the British contingent on home soil in fifth position.

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Home hope and championship leader Oliver Rowland began his weekend in sixth position, ahead of Egor Orudzhev and Tech 1 pairing Roy Nissany and Aurelien Panis, with Beitske Visser rounding out the top ten for AVF.

Elsewhere, Will Bratt and Nick Yelloly brought up the rear in 19th and 20th, the former getting to grips with the Pons Racing car following a period out of racing, while the latter failed to set a time in the Lotus.