Kevin Magnussen took a comfortable pole position for the first Formula Renault 3.5 race of the weekend at Spa.
The McLaren junior was in control of the fight at the front from the beginning of the session, which was delayed by morning fog at the Belgian circuit. By the time the FR3.5 cars took to the track the surface was dry enough for slick tires, and Magnussen settled into a rhythm long before anyone else.
He was briefly deposed with three minutes remaining when Arthur Pic snatched top spot, but Magnussen had more than enough in reserve and responded emphatically to cement his place at the top of the pile.
Pic was bumped down to fourth thanks to late improvements for Antonio Felix da Costa and Monaco podium finisher Jazeman Jaafar, while behind the Frenchman Marco Sorensen and Nikolay Martsenko jumped into the top six at the end.
Title contender Stoffel Vandoorne had a tough session on home soil, where he could only manage 13th. The Belgian had been scrapping with Magnussen at the top in the early runs, but he struggled to find a clear lap on his second set of tires.
A clash between Will Stevens and Monaco winner Nico Muller briefly brought out the yellow flags at the Bus Stop chicane, and that incident is under investigation by the stewards.
Vandoorne had to abandon his final lap when Pietro Fantin crashed at Turn 14, but he had already failed to improve on his previous best in the first sector so it was not certain that he would have moved up without the yellow flags.