CLICK HERE for the full FR3.5 Qualifying (1) results from the Red Bull Ring
Oliver Rowland came out on top of a closely-matched group to claim pole position for the first of two Formula Renault 3.5 races at the picturesque Red Bull Ring in Austria.
The Briton, buoyed by his impressive debut GP2 Series appearance at Silverstone last weekend, set the pace with a lap of 1m 17.641s, but was made to work for top spot by a quartet of drivers, including fellow countryman and morning practice pacesetter Dean Stoneman.
While Stoneman set the early pace, Rowland and Matthieu Vaxiviere both lurked close behind, while others – including Meindert van Buuren and Alfonso Celis Jr played bit part roles in briefly snatching P1 in the early stages.
As expected, the closing laps saw the grid take shape, with Rowland eventually coming up with a time that proved too good for anyone else by a couple of tenths. Instead of either Vaxiviere or Stoneman lining up alongside the DAMS driver, however, it will be series returnee Marlon Stockinger, on a comeback appearance with Lotus, who shares the front of the grid, with Vaxiviere and Stoneman relegated to row two.
Roberto Merhi and Stoneman's team-mate, Nyck de Vries will share row three ahead of Gustav Malja and Nicolas Latifi, while Tom Dillmann and Tio Ellinas – who was unable to repeat his Friday practice performance – round out the top ten.
Further back, Monaco race winner Jazeman Jaafar was only 15th, 0.03s clear of Beitske Visser, while FRenault 2.0 points leader Louis Deletraz brought up the rear on his series debut. The hapless Pietro Fantin, meanwhile, remains under investigation, having brought out the red flag, but won't fall far if he is demoted,m having placed only 19th...
A second qualifying session follows later this afternoon, with two races set for Sunday.