Nigel Melker has taken his second GP3 pole of the season following a tense qualifying session at Istanbul today.
The Mucke Motorsport driver secured the top spot with a stunning 1m46.361s lap just 90 seconds before the end of the session, which put the Dutchman 0.238sec clear of nearest rival Esteban Gutierrez (ART), a significant margin on a morning where positions were being decided by hundredths of a second.
Up to that point Gutierrez had looked fairly safe on top. The Mexican had led the session from the moment he bolted on his second set of tires 15 minutes in, despite a brief scare when he found himself unable to select a gear while in the pits.
That problem was solved fairly quickly, and another one took care of itself when Manor's Adrian Quaife-Hobbs, who had looked like Gutierrez's biggest threat, spun and stalled at Turn 10 with just a couple of minutes remaining.
Melker's late flyer relegated Gutierrez to second, with Carlin's Dean Smith third. Quaife-Hobbs held on to fourth, just ahead of teammate James Jakes.
It was a difficult morning for some of the other drivers, not least MW Arden's Michael Christensen, who will start from the back row after his car lost its right-rear wheel at Turn 3.