CLICK: Full GP3 qualifying results from the Hungaroring
Pole position for this afternoon's GP3 race went to Status GP's Richie Stanaway, the New Zealander's first Saturday pole position after he managed to post his fastest lap of the morning qualifying session just before it was red flagged for an incident involving his team mate Alfonso Celis Jr.
Although the session restarted, there was little time for the field to respond to Stanaway's provisional pole effort before the chequered flag locked the grid with championship leader Alex Lynn claiming the second spot on the front row, while his main rival for the title Jimmy Eriksson failed to qualify in the top ten.
With Hungary continuing to offer sunshine and with temperatures already soaring despite the early hour, it was last weekend's race 2 winner Jann Mardenborough who had gone to the top of the timesheets on his first run with a lap of 1:35.922s, putting him 0.126s ahead of Marussia Manor Racing's Dean Stoneman and Carlin's Alex Lynn. However Mardenborough was soon ousted from the top by Status GP pair Nick Yelloly and Richie Stanaway showing their pace early, before Arden's Robert Visoiu laid down a new benchmark of 1:34.270s to take control.
Sebastian Balthasar was an early spinner when the Hilmer Motorsport went into the run-off at turn 11, but the car was quickly taken care of and didn't impair Dino Zamparelli putting his ART almost half a second clear of Visoiu's time and making him the first man into the 1:33s. Attempts by the other drivers to match this were briefly thwarted when Riccardo Agostini (Hilmer) dabbed his left front tyre on the grass and spun at the final corner to bring out local waved yellows until he could safely get the car back underway.
A response to Zamparelli's provisional pole time from Stanaway just before the midway point of the 30-second session was baulked by traffic and instead left him slotting into second place ahead of ART's Alex Fontana just before a harmless spin for Jenzer Motorsport's Matheo Tuscher. Fontana himself was soon bumped down a place by Koiranen GP's Jimmy Eriksson, who was seeking to claw back some of the championship ground he had lost to Lynn at Hockenheim.
An improved lap from Yelloly put the #26 Status GP into second two tenths off Zamparelli, who continued to be the fastest man on track even after the cars resumed their qualifying runs after the usual midway interval for pitstops, set-up changes and fresh tyres. Patrick Kujala was able to put his #14 Marussia Manor Racing into second place, just before Zamparelli shaved a few hundredths off his provisional time despite a slide in the final sector.
Zamparelli's hold at the top was finally broken by Visoiu and then by Lynn in quick succession, before Stanaway pipped them both with an effort of 1:33.553s to go top by a slender 0.035s. Fontana responded with a charge that looked set to challenge Stanaway's time, but halfway around his lap the red flags came out: Stanaway's team mate Alfonso Celis Jr had gone off and sustained a big hit in the tyre wall at turn 5, shortly after he had been forced to swerve onto the dirty side of the dusty Hungaroring track surface to avoid the spinning Trident of Roman De Beer.
That left just under three minutes remaining when the session restarted, giving everyone just one more flying lap attempt albeit on a crowded track. Yelloly was able to manage an improved time to put him into third place and Emil Bernstorff was also able to post a fast time in the Carlin to snatch sixth place as the chequered flag came out, but there was no serious challenge to the front row with Stanaway confirmed in pole alongside Lynn.
Visoiu ended up with fourth place ahead of Zamparelli, while behind Bernstorff it was Arden's Patrick Niederhauser in seventh ahead of a deeply frustrated Fontana. Kujala held on to ninth place putting him just ahead of ART's Marvin Kirchhofer, but the German will take a five place grid drop as a result of having been found to have caused a collision during least week's Sunday race.
Pal Varhaug will also have a five place grid penalty held over from Hockenheim having been found culpable for a separate collision in the same race, meaning that the Jenzer Motorsport will drop to the back of the grid for the start of this afternoon's race.
Also hit by a grid penalty is Carlin's Luis Sa Silva who finished qualifying in 11th place, but will drop five places for the start of race 1 after the stewards found him to have overtaken another car during the red flag period that curtailed the end of Friday evening's practice session.
The penalties are to the benefit of Eriksson, who will move up from 12th place into the top ten as a result, which will be a significant help to the Swede at the notoriously difficult to overtake circuit as he strives to get back on equal footing with Lynn.
New face Christopher Hoher qualified in 24th place for his first GP3 race, having taken over the seat of the #22 Jenzer Motorsport car from Adderly Fong this weekend. The only other change in the driver line-up this week is the absence of Victor Carbone, with Trident opting to run two cars only in Hungary.
Race 1 is scheduled for 5.20pm (4.20pm BST) on Saturday afternoon and race 2 for 9.25am (8.25am BST) on Sunday morning. Both races will be shown live in the UK on Sky Sports F1.
See full GP3 qualifying results from the Hungaroring