Cooper Tires British F3 International Series leader Daniel Ricciardo will enjoy the benefit of a pole position start in tomorrow [Friday]'s 13th round of the championship at the Belgian Grand Prix circuit of Spa-Francorchamps.

The Australian bagged the pole from his Carlin Motorsport team-mate Max Chilton by a three-tenth margin.

"That was great, such fun," said Ricciardo after taking his third qualifying top spot of the season. "An F3 car is fantastic around this circuit. There is so much grip you just feel you can go quicker and quicker all the time."

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Ricciardo's qualifying performance was all the more impressive for being his first dry-track experience of an F3 car at Spa, as both the day's free practice sessions were wet.

Meanwhlie wet practice pacesetter Renger van der Zande was just over two-tenths slower than Chilton to bag third place on the grid for Hitech, with CF Racing's Hywel Lloyd a superb fourth quickest.

The Welsh driver put his performance down to his Dallara's lusty Neil Brown Engineering-tuned Mugen Honda engine.

"The engine is fantastic here," said Lloyd. "If we were going to have an advantage anywhere it was going to be here, a real power circuit. I'm delighted but it is taking time to sink in."

F3 Euro Series championship leader Jules Bianchi - one of five Invitation Class runners at Spa this weekend - was fifth quickest in his ART Grand Prix Dallara, ahead of Donington race winner Walter Grubmuller in the second Hitech car.

Donington's other victor, Wayne Boyd, was one of three drivers in the wars: "I lost it at Pouhon, spun and hit the barriers," said the Ulsterman. Fortunately damage to his T-Sport Dallara was light.

The other cars to go off, the National class machines of Gabriel Dias and Max Snegirev, were less intact.

Dias's crash came after he had set the best National Class qualifying time with a mark two-tenths better than that set by his arch class rival, Foretc's Daniel McKenzie.