Renger van der Zande claimed his second pole position in British Formula 3 by setting fastest time in first qualifying at Snetterton today.
The Hitech Racing driver pipped Carlin pair Henry Arundel and Max Chilton to the top spot by 0.003sec and 0.008sec, respectively, in the closest session of the season so far.
Van der Zande scorched his Dallara-Mercedes around the high-speed circuit in a 1m02.071s best midway through the session and remained unbeaten thereafter.
"Three thousandths is not a lot is it, but just enough," said the Dutchman. "I expected to be a lot quicker, but the track suddenly changed after I did my best lap. But it was good and we've been on top through all of free practice so it's a really good weekend so far."
Conditions were hotter and less windy than they were during yesterday's pre-race test, and combined to produce slower lap times and take more out of the tires than is usual at the Norfolk venue.
Chilton briefly claimed provisional pole, but was caught out by the changing conditions and didn't push hard enough when his tires were at their best. He thus fell to third as teammate Arundel produced the best qualifying performance of his F3 career to claim the other front row spot.
Championship leader Daniel Ricciardo struggled for speed early on, but produced a late spurt to claim fourth spot, a tenth of a second adrift of the top three.
Van der Zande's Hitech team-mate Walter Grubmuller and Fortec's Riki Christodoulou were others to briefly flirt with pole position, but they fell down the order as others improved and rounded out the top six.
Christodoulou's Fortec teammate Daniel McKenzie claimed the National Class pole by rounding out the top 10 overall, behind Daisuke Nakajima (Double R), Adriano Buzaid (T-Sport) and the impressive Jay Bridger (Litespeed) in his lone Mygale-Mugen-Honda.TIMES:
Pos Driver Team Car Time Gap
1. Renger van der Zande Hitech D/M 1m02.071s
2. Henry Arundel Carlin D/V 1m02.074s +0.003
3. Max Chilton Carlin D/V 1m02.079s +0.008
4. Daniel Ricciardo Carlin D/V 1m02.178s +0.107
5. Walter Grubmuller Hitech D/M 1m02.195s +0.124
6. Riki Christodoulou Fortec D/M 1m02.226s +0.155
7. Daisuke Nakajima Double R D/M 1m02.372s +0.301
8. Adriano Buzaid T-Sport D/V 1m02.406s +0.335
9. Jay Bridger Litespeed M/M 1m02.509s +0.438
10. Daniel McKenzie Fortec D/H 1m02.643s +0.572
11. Wayne Boyd T-Sport D/V 1m02.679s +0.608
12. Carlos Huertas Double R D/M 1m02.690s +0.619
13. Gabriel Dias T-Sport D/H 1m02.729s +0.658
14. Philip Major Carlin D/V 1m02.743s +0.672
15. Victor Garcia Fortec D/M 1m02.983s +0.912
16. Hywel Lloyd CF D/H 1m03.328s +1.257
17. Stephane Richelmi Barazi Epsilon D/M 1m03.523s +1.452
18. Victor Correa Litespeed S/H 1m03.861s +1.790
19. Maxim Snegirev West-Tec D/H 1m04.459s +2.388
20. Aaron Steele Litespeed S/H 1m04.928s +2.857