Nicolas Lapierre pushed A1 Team France back into its regular position at the top of the timesheets in the third and final practice session as the A1 Grand Prix circus geared up for qualifying at a persistently wet Sentul.

The GP2 regular did not have it easy, however, as the top 15 teams were separated by less than one second, and just over two seconds covered the entire 23-car field. Stephen Simpson, buoyed by his strong result in his native South Africa two weeks ago, pushed the 'rainbow nation' car into second spot, just over a tenth shy of Lapierre, with Salvador Duran, Durban race winner Jos Verstappen and Britain's Robbie Kerr proved their wet-weather skills by completing the top five.

The session was not without incident, however, as the conditions continued to catch out the unwary, veterans Tomas Enge and Christian Fittipaldi included.

Local hero Ananda Mikola pushed the Indonesian car into seventh place, behind New Zealand's Matt Halliday, but ahead of Swiss frontrunner Neel Jani, as well as Sean McIntosh (Canada) and Portugal's Alvaro Parente.

Day one pacesetters Ralph Firman (Ireland) and Alex Yoong (Malaysia) both narrowly missed the top ten, claiming twelfth and 13th respectively, while China and India brought up the rear.

The session completed the teams preparations for qualifying, including helping them to determine which driver, if they had the choice, should attempt to chase the grid slot for Sunday's sprint race. In the event, there were few surprises, with Australian new boy Marcus Marshall getting the nod over team-mate Christian Jones, and Basil Shaaban getting the Lebanese vote.

The full list of nominated qualifiers is as follows:

Australia Marcus MarshallAustria Mathias LaudaBrazil Christian FittipaldiCanada Sean McIntoshChina Tengyi JiangCzech Republic Tomas EngeFrance Nicolas LapierreGermany Timo ScheiderGreat Britain Robbie KerrIndia Armaan EbrahimIndonesia Ananda MikolaIreland Ralph FirmanItaly Max BusnelliJapan Hayanari ShimodaLebanon Basil ShaabanMalaysia Alex YoongMexico Salvador DuranNetherlands Jos VerstappenNew Zealand Matt HallidayPortugal Alvaro ParenteSouth Africa Stephen SimpsonSwitzerland Neel JaniUSA Philip Giebler

 

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