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Tharani ended at the top of the timesheets in the 30 minutes free practice session after timing his best lap right at the end of the session.
His time of 1:42.576 was good enough to stay ahead of his rival Goutham Parekh by 0.493s. Parekh, for a brief period headed the table but Tharani was quick to dislodge him from the top.
Tharani was the only driver to dip in the 1:42's out of the nine drivers competing. The top three was completed by Arjun Narendran.
With the track temperature hovering around 51C, the drivers are concerned with the tyre performance and managing them will be key this weekend. It will be a challenge for the drivers especially during the race.
"The track looks pretty hot; I was running a qualifying simulation. We were not chasing time but it feels great to be the quickest," Tharani said to Motorsport.com after practice.
The rest of the field were separated by more than a second from Tharani as Tejas Ram slotted in at fourth and Anshul Shah at fifth, who also timed his best lap on his last lap of the session.
"I had a bit of an oversteer issue with the car and that is partly due to the extreme temperatures. I ended only 0.3s off third place Narendran which is positive," Ram said.
The top nine was completed by Chetan Korada at sixth, actor/racer Jai Sampath seventh, Niranjan Todkari eighth and nearly ten seconds off the pace ninth was Utkarsh Singh.
Qualifying is slotted for 14:30 local time start.