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Oliver Rowland secured his sixth pole of the season in a session that threw track limits into the limelight at the eighth round of the Formula Renault 3.5 championship at Le Mans.
Rowland himself had two early lap times deleted after taking all four wheels off the circuit at the beginning of the thirty minute session. Russian rookie Egor Orudzhev will line up alongside the championship leader in second for Arden Motorsport after a last-minute flyer, and a pause in proceedings to remove the AVF of Beitske Visser, took him ahead of Lotus' Matthieu Vaxiviere.
The Frenchman will start third in front of his home crowd. Tom Dillmann's lap record from yesterday was surpassed by the leader by over a second but the Carlin driver makes it an all-French second row for Saturday's race.
Tio Ellinas continued his confident run of form for fifth with Dean Stoneman improving by seven places in the final moments to secure sixth for defending driver and team champions DAMS. Roy Nissany was a surprise package for Tech 1 Racing in seventh, leading fellow rookies Nyck de Vries, - who was consistently eighth throughout the session - Aurelien Panis and Gustav Malja to the final top ten grid slots.
Malja was initially qualifying much higher than his tenth place position but had two lap times deleted after exceeding track limits at turn six. The Virage de la Chapelle corner proved particularly costly for the young Swede with Beitske Visser and sixth-placed Stoneman also falling foul to the tight left hander.
Limits were also regularly exceeded at turn 13 with 13th placed Alfonso Celis Jr and 14th qualifier Nicholas Latifi and Jazeman Jaafar - who qualified 15th - coming a cropper on more than one occasion. The track is predominately setup for Moto GP and is lower than many of the other eight tracks on the 2015 calendar. Despite the many decisions regarding track limits and the debates surrounding it among drivers and teams, race one qualifying became one of the most competitive qualifying sessions of the season with Vaxiviere and 11th placed Yu Kanamaru separated by less than one second.
Track limits will also become a focal point of the first race as the 19 drivers attempt to thwart an on form Rowland. Vaxiviere must score points this afternoon if he is to keep his championship hopes alive at Le Mans.