Expected Toro Rosso Formula 1 race driver Jaime Alguersuari and Briton Jon Lancaster led the way in Formula Renault 3.5 qualifying at round six at Le Mans.
A 12-car B group was the first to take to the Bugatti circuit for the opening 20-minute session of this morning's split qualifying sessions. Hungaroring victor Fairuz Fauzy led the way, with Pasquale Di Sabatino, James Walker and Marco Barba taking turns in second place.
Fauzy appeared in control but with two minutes remaining a flood of fast times bumped the Malaysian out of the top six and denied him a place in the superpole shootout.
Oliver Turvey took P1 from Fauzy but he was usurped at the head of the timesheet by his Carlin Motorsport team-mate Alguersuari, who produced a superb 1m26.056s.
Turvey was also demoted by Sten Pentus and James Walker, as Pasquale Di Sabatino and Marco Barba completed the top six.
The A group was extremely closely contested, with just 0.051s covering the top three. Jon Lancaster continued his Friday form to set the fastest time - a 1m26.147s.
"The grip came very quickly and we made the most of it," said Lancaster. "It's my third World Series meeting and we keep progressing. We have always had the pace but bad luck issues with red flags and yellow flags at the wrong time have hurt us. I am confident."
Ultimate Motorsport's Miguel Molina, chasing his first victory of 2009, was second in the A group ahead of Silverstone winner Charles Pic. Both of the visiting GP2 drivers, Dani Clos and Edoardo Mortara, progressed into superpole, as did championship leader Marcos Martinez.
Tech 1 debutant Mortara's last-gasp improvement was an upset for championship hopeful Bertrand Baguette. The Belgian, who is eight points off Martinez's lead in the standings in third position overall, missed a place in superpole by 0.033s.
Pos Driver Team Time Gap
1. Jaime Alguersuari Carlin 1m26.056s
2. Sten Pentus Fortec 1m26.201s +0.145
3. James Walker P1 1m26.207s +0.151
4. Oliver Turvey Carlin 1m26.295s +0.239
5. Pasquale di Sabatino RC 1m26.323s +0.267
6. Marco Barba Draco 1m26.367s +0.311
7. Greg Mansell Ultimate 1m26.471s +0.415
8. Fairuz Fauzy Fortec 1m26.475s +0.419
9. Anton Nebylitskiy SG 1m27.305s +1.249
10. Guillaume Moreau SG 1m27.688s +1.632
11. Federico Leo Pons 1m28.230s +2.174
12. Cristiano Morgado Comtec 1m29.116s +3.060
Pos Driver Team Time Gap
1. Jon Lancaster Comtec 1m26.147s
2. Miguel Molina Ultimate 1m26.190s +0.043
3. Charles Pic Tech 1 1m26.198s +0.051
4. Dani Clos Epsilon 1m26.276s +0.129
5. Edoardo Mortara Tech 1 1m26.464s +0.317
6. Marcos Martinez Pons 1m26.470s +0.323
7. Bertrand Baguette Draco 1m26.503s +0.356
8. Chris van der Drift Epsilon 1m26.549s +0.402
9. Daniil Move P1 1m26.808s +0.661
10. Adrian Zaugg Interwetten 1m26.837s +0.690
11. Filip Salaquarda Prema 1m27.982s +1.835
12. Mihai Marinescu Interwetten 1m28.087s +1.940
13. Omar Leal Prema 1m28.330s +2.183