Klaas van Snelheid topped practice for the French V-Prix ahead of team mate Nathaniel Powers as Downton looked clear of the field.
The French V-Prix marks the start of the European season, and with it the majority of teams bringing large upgrades, of which Downton's look amongst the most successful.
DS Mathershaw and Franklin remain their closest challengers - Adrien Simon running in special one-off DS Vaillante livery this weekend was third fastest, ahead of the Franklin pair of Ruiz and Giodano.
Judson Sikes' pace appeared to return in real for the first time since Australia with sixth fastest ahead of debutant Oleksandr Zozulya, the Ukrainian outpacing new team mate Arden Hutchinson by eight tenths of a second and 10 places.
The two Renault powered teams - Westwood and Holmqvist - had similar pace as their cars swept ninth to twelfth positions, while Meteor appear to have made a little ground, their drivers ending the session fifteenth and sixteenth fastest.
Lopez and AMR appear to have slipped the most, though the former could be attributed to other factors. Elroy Wagner struggled to get a clean run while James Harding completed a minimal number of laps and disappeared from the garage well before the end of the session, reportedly complaining about back problems.
See below for full free practice classification: