Reigning Master of Formula 3 Jules Bianchi will start the defence of his title from pole position after finishing fastest in final qualifying at Zandvoort this afternoon.
The Frenchman won a duel with his Finnish ART team-mate Valtteri Bottas to claim the top spot by just 0.032 seconds.
The 20-minute shoot-out came alive in the final 10 minutes as everyone took to the track trying to push for pole.
It became a real fight to find space in traffic and pre-season Euro Series title favourite Bianchi managed to find a gap and set a 1m31.143s best lap, with just under five minutes remaining, that could not be beaten.
"For sure this feels really good for me because we weren't very fast in the first practice session, but now we have pole so I'm really happy," said Bianchi.
"In the beginning I had lots of drivers in front of me, so I couldn't push as much as I wanted, but in the end I found a gap and even though I made a mistake and locked a wheel on my best lap, I got pole."
Reigning Formula Renault Eurocup champion Bottas used his two seasons of track experience to try and respond immediately, but came up short. With such a small gap to his team-mate and the chequered flag imminent, the team told Bottas to push harder.
But he tried to extract too much from his Dallara-Mercedes, touched the gravel approaching Mastersbocht and went off.
Nevertheless, he remained second, nearly four tenths clear of top Volkswagen runner Mika Maki (Signature), who will share the second row with fellow first qualifying pace-setter Roberto Merhi (Manor).
With the track getting hotter and dirtier, following incident-packed support races, most drivers outside the top four struggled to match their earlier qualifying pace. Stefano Coletti (Prema Powerteam) was the big exception to this pattern, finding three tenths compared with this morning, and will line up on row three as a result.
McLaren Autosport BRDC Award winner Alexander Sims (Mucke) was the top Briton and will start on row four after setting the eighth fastest time.
Dutch home hero Renger van der Zande (Hitech) was on the pace this morning, but lost eight tenths this afternoon and wound up mired on an all-Dutch row five with countryman Henkie Waldschmidt (SG Formula).
Van der Zande was nevertheless the top British series runner, as British F3 Championship leader Daniel Ricciardo (Carlin) also struggled for speed and wound up 13th - one place behind Sam Bird (Mucke).
An event regulation decreeing that 50 per cent of the field must fight it out for pole in the shoot-out, rather than the top 10 from each of this morning's sessions, meant that Carlos Huertas (Double R) and Laurens Vanthoor (Carlin) both had to drop into the earlier shootout to decide the latter half of the grid.
They wound up third and fourth in that session, meaning they will start on row 11 behind session-topper Marco Wittmann (Mucke) and Walter Grubmuller (Hitech).
Practice pace-setter Esteban Gutierrez (ART) will line up on row 16 after another qualifying off that left him stranded in the Mastersbocht gravel trap.
Pos Driver Team Car Time
1. Jules Bianchi ART D/M 1m31.143s
2. Valtteri Bottas ART D/M 1m31.175s
3. Mika Maki Signature D/V 1m31.462s
4. Roberto Merhi Manor D/M 1m31.538s
5. Stefano Coletti Prema D/M 1m31.557s
6. Jean-Karl Vernay Signature D/V 1m31.806s
7. Christian Vietoris Mucke D/M 1m31.818s
8. Alexander Sims Mucke D/M 1m31.863s
9. Renger van der Zande Hitech D/M 1m32.035s
10. Henkie Waldschmidt SG D/M 1m32.051s
11. Tiago Geronimi Signature D/V 1m32.121s
12. Sam Bird Mucke D/M 1m32.326s
13. Daniel Ricciardo Carlin D/V 1m32.449s
14. Christopher Zanella Motopark D/M 1m32.489s
15. Adrien Tambay ART D/M 1m32.497s
16. Atte Mustonen Motopark D/M 1m32.518s
17. Basil Shaaban Prema D/M 1m32.709s
18. Matteo Chinosi Prema D/M 1m33.119s
19. Marco Wittmann Mucke D/M 1m32.869s
20. Walter Grubmuller Hitech D/M 1m32.985s
21. Carlos Huertas Double R D/M 1m33.002s
22. Laurens Vanthoor Carlin D/V 1m33.228s
23. Riki Christodoulou Fortec D/M 1m33.330s
24. Franceso Castellacci Manor D/M 1m33.332s
25. Victor Garcia Fortec D/M 1m33.536s
26. Pedro Nunes Manor D/M 1m33.606s
27. Cesar Ramos Manor D/M 1m33.614s
28. Andrea Caldarelli SG D/M 1m33.614s
29. Daisuke Nakajima Double R D/M 1m33.644s
30. Daniel Zampieri BVM D/H 1m33.644s
31. Max Chilton Carlin D/V 1m33.651s
32. Esteban Gutierrez ART D/M 1m33.723s
33. Jake Rosenzweig Carlin D/V 1m33.747s
34. Henry Arundel Carlin D/V 1m34.049s
35. Samuele Buttarelli Carlin D/V 1m34.177s
36. Alexandre Marsoin SG D/M 1m34.561s
Positions 1-18 decided in qualifying 4
Positions 19-36 in qualifying 3