Valtteri Bottas gave his very slim Formula 3 Euroseries title hopes a boost after claiming pole position for the seventh round of the championship at Brands Hatch.
Currently third in the standings, the rookie Finn is 36 points behind champion-elect Jules Bianchi, but had his cause aided when the Frenchman crashed out during the session and could only manage 16th on the grid.
With the Brands Hatch circuit notoriously difficult to overtake on, Bottas was delighted to come away with pole position, achieved by topping the faster of two qualifying groups.
“I am starting from pole position tomorrow and that is great. Here, overtaking is very difficult, so a good start is all the more important for tomorrow. When I don't make any mistakes after that, winning should be possible.”
Signature's Mika Maki starts alongside him on the front row as the leading Volkswagen contender, while home favourite Alex Sims was a fine third as he led the trio of Mucke machines, ahead of Christian Vietoris and Sam Bird.
Esteban Gutierrez was sixth fastest, ahead of Motopark Academy's Christopher Zanella, Carlin pair Brendon Hartley and Jake Rosenzweig, while Johan Jokinen was on form for the Kolles & Heinz team to round out the top ten.
Further back, British driver Nick Tandy qualified in 15th position.