Robert Wickens will start the penultimate Formula 2 race of the season from pole position after going quickest in the first qualifying session at Barcelona.
The 20-year-old Canadian trailed new champion Andy Soucek during the early stages, but leapt to the head of the field with 10 minutes remaining as the Spaniard and Mikhail Aleshin each tried their hardest to retake the top spot. They failed, and Wickens then rubbed salt into their wounds by improving his time by three tenths of a second to take his fourth pole of the season in 1m39.020s.
Behind fellow front-row man Soucek, Nicola de Marco leapt up to third on his final flying lap, equalling his career best qualifying and demoting Aleshin to fourth.
Formula Palmer Audi graduate Tristan Vautier was a fifth quickest ahead of his series debut, ahead of Julien Jousse, Philipp Eng and Mirko Bortolotti, whose hopes of claiming second in the championship, ahead of Wickens, seem severely compromised.
British driver Jack Clarke caused the only red flag of the session after four minutes. His car became beached in a gravel trap after a spin. Ollie Hancock pulled his car off the track at Turn Four at the same time.