Darren Manning bounced back from a disappointing F3000 debut at Imola to take pole for his home race this weekend.

The Briton put himself into a great position to take a third British Grand Prix support race win by recording two flying laps quicker than any of his rivals at Silverstone, despite having to battle against some atrocious conditions.

The Yorkshireman made the most of the slowly drying track to put in a couple of late laps, taking pole initially from compatriot Justin Wilson. Wilson also had a point-less start to his F3000 campaign two weeks ago, but looked likely to start from prime position at Silverstone.

A spin late in the second session gave his rivals the chance they were looking for, however, and Manning, who had been following the Nordic driver for much of the time pounced to steal pole from under him. Sadly for Wilson - and the British motorsport media which was hoping for an all-British front row - Australian Mark Webber also found a late lap to claim second on the grid.

Webber, driving for the European Arrows Junior team, had been safely in the top ten for much of the day, but appeared to have missed his chance of moving up the order with a spin at Stowe. Regaining his composure very quickly, however, the Imola podium finisher kept it all together and found enough time in his car to take second.

Enrique Bernoldi seemed to be the only other threat to Manning's - and Arden's - pole position, but the Brazilian came up short when it mattered most. He will start fourth in Saturday's race, with championship favourite Bruno Junqueira and early pace-setter Fernando Alonso immediately behind him.

Junqueira's co-favourite Stephane Sarrazin suffered for the second race running, and will line-up only 19th on the grid - two places ahead of mySAP.com team-mate Tomas Enge, who clouted the pit-wall heavily at the start of the first qualifying session.

Worse still, however, was the fate of last year's winning team, Kid Jensen Racing. Second year driver Andrea Piccini crashed at the same time as Enge, but with heavier damage, while Bas Leinders hovered around the cusp of qualifying for most of the day. The Belgian was slowest of all in the second session, but scraped onto the grid in 26th spot by dint of running faster in the first.

KJR's winning driver from 1999, Nicolas Minassian, was only 17th after the weather played havoc with both sessions, but both Ananda Mikola and Viktor Maslov surpassed expectations by making the cut.
Qualifying - F3000 - Silverstone.

1. Darren Manning Arden 1min 56.776secs
2. Mark Webber European Arrows 1min 56.947secs
3. Justin Wilson Nordic 1min 57.074secs
4. Enrique Bernoldi Red Bull Junior 1min 57.269secs
5. Bruno Junqueira Petrobras Junior 1min 57.313secs
6. Fernando Alonso Astromega 1min 57.476secs
7. Soheil Ayari Coloni 1min 57.713secs
8. Christjan Albers European Arrows 1min 57.921secs
9. Fabrice Walfisch Astromega 1min 58.68secs
10. Franck Montagny DAMS 1min 58.140secs
11. Kristian Kolby DAMS 1min 58.156secs
12. David Saelens Super Nova 1min 58.191secs
13. Jeffrey van Hooydonk Witmeur KTR 1min 58.334secs
14. Sebastien Bourdais Gauloises Formula 1min 58.404secs
15. Mario Haberfeld Fortec 1min 58.416secs
16. Ricardo Mauricio Red Bull Junior 1min 58.458secs
17. Nicolas Minassian Super Nova 1min 58.591secs
18. Kevin McGarrity Nordic 1min 58.810secs
19. Stephane Sarrazin mySAP.com 1min 58.927secs
20. Andre Couto Gauloises Formula 1min 59.145secs
21. Tomas Enge mySAP.com 1min 59.298secs
22. Ananda Mikola WRT 1min 59.311secs
23. Viktor Maslov Arden 1min 59.607secs
24. Jaime Melo Jr Petrobras Junior 1min 59.946secs
25. Andreas Scheld Fortec 2mins 00.179secs
26. Bas Leinders Kid Jensen 2min 00.370secs

DNQ. Yves Olivier Witmeur KTR 2mins 00.384secs
DNQ. Fabrizio Gollin Coloni 2mins 00.407secs
DNQ. Hidetoshi Mitsusada WRT 2mins 00.939secs
DNQ. Andrea Piccini Kid Jensen 2min 07.802secs