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Carlos Sainz Jr dominated Saturday qualifying to claim his fourth career pole for DAMS Racing in Spa.

The long-time leader continued to improve throughout the session but fought off a strong challenge from rookie, Pierre Gasly who will join the Spaniard on the front row. Sainz Jr, the championship leader, with just one tenth-of-a-second faster than his fellow Red Bull junior.

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Second fastest in Friday practice, Sergey Sirotkin dropped one position to third, a futher one hundredth behind the fast-finishing rookie. Lotus' Richie Stanaway made an impressive return to Formula Renault 3.5, replacing an injured Matthieu Vaxiviere, and will join the Sauber test driver on the second row. The GP3 driver has not raced at the helm of a 3.5 litre model since 2012 at the Belgian circuit. The top four drivers all produced times faster than Spa specialist, Kevin Magnussen's pole lap last year, a 1:58.868.

Roberto Merhi got the better of his team mate once again to place his Zeta Corse in fifth, over half a second faster than International Draco's Racing's Pietro Fantin. Strakka Racing's Matias Laine also out paced his team mate, Will Stevens to end the qualifying session in seventh whilst Zoel Amberg, Marlon Stockinger and Oliver Rowland completed a competitive top ten.

The top sixteen drivers were all within one second of the leader at the close of one of the most competitive qualifying sessions of the season.

Making his d?but this weekend, Oscar Tunjo was three tenths slower than his new Pons Racing team mate, Meindert Van Buuren. The inexperienced driver pairing will sit nineteenth and seventeenth respectively for the afternoon race. Meanwhile, Zeta Corse's Roman Mavlanov was the only driver outside the two minute mark and placed twentieth in the absence of Comtec Racing this weekend.

The drivers will return to the track this afternoon with Sainz Jr leading the field. DAMS Racing won this first race on Saturday with Kevin Magnussen at the helm and the Dane's successor will hope to continue this pace in the race for his third win of the season.