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Matthieu Vaxiviere will start the opening round of the 2015 Formula Renault 3.5 Championship from pole position after prevailing in a closely fought session at Motorland Aragon.
Entering his second season in FR3.5 with the Lotus team, Vaxiviere – who was quickest in both Friday free practice sessions – emerged top in the final flurry of fast laps, the Frenchman getting the edge by 0.025secs in the closing seconds.
His efforts were enough to deny a surprise landmark for FR3.5 rookie Gustav Malja, the young Swede seemingly on course for pole position after putting two tenths between himself and the competition in the Strakka Racing car, only for Vaxiviere to nudge him onto the outside of the front row.
With just a tenth covering third to seventh, experience told as second year drivers Oliver Rowland and Meindert van Buuren filled row two, ahead of early qualifying pace setter Jazeman Jaafar and Carlin signing Tom Dillmann.
One of the pre-season favourites, Red Bull backed Dean Stoneman gets his 2015 campaign away from seventh, ahead of Tio Ellinas, Nicholas Latifi and Eurocup 2.0 champion Nyck de Vries.
Elsewhere, female racer Beitske Visser starts in 12th place, ahead of Manor F1 driver Roberto Merhi, the Spaniard – who finished third overall in 2014 – down in 13th.