British F3 veteran Walter Grubmuller claimed his second pole position of the season as his Hitech team locked out the front row of the grid for race two at Hockenheim.
Overnight rain and a steady morning drizzle created a treacherous track, but a series of earlier sessions for Procar, GTs and German F3 created the beginnings of a dry line by the time the British F3 boys took to the circuit, all slick-shod.
Five different drivers took turns at the top in the early part of the session as lap times steadily came down to around three seconds shy of optimum pace.
A mid-session dash to the pits by the majority of the field to fit new tires, presaged the real push for pole position in the second half of qualifying.
Jay Bridger's Mygale-Mugen Honda, which started the session on new tires, held provisional pole position then, but became a sitting duck as rivals took advantage of fresher rubber and a rapidly drying track to bump him down to 11th by the end, 0.216s behind Nick Tandy's similar car.
Championship leader Daniel Ricciardo (Carlin) and Grubmuller's Hitech team-mate Renger van der Zande briefly resumed yesterday's duel for pole in the latter half of qualifying two, until Grubmuller stole in to make it a three-way fight in the final third of the session.
Ricciardo looked to have his rivals beat after banging in a 1m34.664s with 90s left, to take the top spot by just 0.003s from van der Zande. But he didn't count on Grubmuller mounting one last successful attack and the Austrian timed his run to perfection to seal the pole at the last minute with two consecutive fastest laps.
Both were over a tenth better than Ricciardo, who later had his best lap scrubbed for running outside the confines of the circuit at turn one, but still set a time good enough for third.
Van der Zande made a last-gasp effort to snatch the top spot from his teammate Grubmuller, but a costly lock up consigned him to second by 0.095s.
"When it rained again in the first part of the session I thought that must be the moment, but it was just about getting the laps in at the end," said Grubmuller, who last took a pole at the Oulton Park season opener in April.
"I just managed to get a good run on my own and stay out until the very end when the track had a completely dry line and was at its quickest.
"It's been a bit of a dry run since Oulton, so it's a confidence boost for me and if we can keep that form for the races we should be in a good position."
Behind the Hitech lockout, Ricciardo's Carlin team-mate Max Chilton continued his strong Hockenheim form to join the Australian on row two.
Rockingham winner Marcus Ericsson (Double R) and T-Sport's Adriano Buzaid both made decent late runs to seal places on row three - just fractions clear of Fortec's Riki Christodoulou, who was the last to pit for new tyres but could only manage seventh fastest time.
Series front-runner Daisuke Nakajima (Double R) and F2 Championship leader Robert Wickens (Carlin) both endured nightmare sessions and wound up 14th and 15th respectively.TIMES:
Pos Driver Make Time
1. W.Grubmuller Dallara/Mercedes 1:34.451
2. R.van der Zande Dallara/Mercedes 1:34.546 + 0.095
3. Daniel Ricciardo Dallara/Volkswagen 1:34.806 + 0.355
4. Max Chilton Dallara/Volkswagen 1:34.832 + 0.381
5. Marcus Ericsson Dallara/Mercedes 1:34.847 + 0.396
6. Adriano Buzaid Dallara/Volkswagen 1:35.203 + 0.752
7. R.Christodoulou Dallara/Mercedes 1:35.219 + 0.768
8. Carlos Huertas Dallara/Mercedes 1:35.306 + 0.855
9. Wayne Boyd Dallara/Volkswagen 1:35.548 + 1.097
10. Nick Tandy Mygale/Mercedes 1:35.584 + 1.133
11. Jay Bridger Mygale/Mercedes 1:35.807 + 1.356
12. Victor Garcia Dallara/Mercedes 1:35.842 + 1.391
13. Daniel McKenzie Dallara/Mugen-Honda 1:35.956 + 1.505
14. Daisuke Nakajima Dallara/Mercedes 1:35.960 + 1.509
15. Robert Wickens Dallara/Volkswagen 1:35.973 + 1.522
16. Henry Arundel Dallara/Volkswagen 1:36.296 + 1.845
17. Gabriel Dias Dallara/Mugen-Honda 1:36.432 + 1.981
18. Hywel Lloyd Dallara/Mugen-Honda 1:36.877 + 2.426
19. Victor Correa SLC/Mugen-Honda 1:38.477 + 4.026
20. S.Richelmi Dallara/Mercedes 1:39.213 + 4.762