Carlin's Jean-Eric Vergne claimed his second Formula Renault 3.5 pole position of the weekend at a sodden Paul Ricard, while his title rival Robert Wickens was only seventh.
The Frenchman probed the limits of road-holding with several off-track moments and a spin, before composing himself to record a formidable lap of 2m13.142s, some 0.814sec faster Fortec's Alexander Rossi.
Vergne, the opening race winner at Le Castellet on Saturday, went to the top of the timing screens just past the midway point of the half-hour session. Rossi knocked the local favorite off provisional pole with five minutes remaining, only to be denied by Vergne on his penultimate lap prior to the checkered flag.
Daniel Ricciardo will head the second row for this afternoon's race. The ISR driver held the fastest time a quarter of an hour into the session, and ended the morning just 0.025sec slower than Rossi.
Fourth in race one, Mofaz Racing's Jake Rosenzweig continued his upswing in form to secure fourth. The American has a history of strong wet weather performances and took pole in similar conditions at Spa last year.
Newcomer Nick Yelloly qualified a superb fifth for Pons Racing. The British GP3 graduate is contesting only his second Formula Renault 3.5 meeting.
Yelloly's teammate Oliver Webb had provisionally qualified second for this afternoon's race, but was stripped of his fastest lap for exceeding the track limits. Webb's second fastest time relegated him to 15th.
A late effort secured Nelson Panciatici sixth spot on home ground for KMP Racing.
The fourth row of the grid will be shared by the unlikely pairing of championship leader Wickens, who was one of many to run completely off the track early in the session, and Dutch rookie Daniel de Jong. Comtec's de Jong is striving to achieve his first points of the season after making an ambitious leap into the category from Formula Renault 2.0.
Pos Driver Team Time Gap
1. Jean-Eric Vergne Carlin 2m13.142s
2. Alexander Rossi Fortec 2m13.956s + 0.814s
3. Daniel Ricciardo ISR 2m13.981s + 0.839s
4. Jake Rosenzweig Mofaz 2m14.739s + 1.597s
5. Nick Yelloly Pons 2m14.750s + 1.608s
6. Nelson Panciatici KMP 2m14.752s + 1.610s
7. Robert Wickens Carlin 2m14.889s + 1.747s
8. Daniel de Jong Comtec 2m14.989s + 1.847s
9. Albert Costa Epic 2m15.005s + 1.863s
10. Daniil Move P1 2m15.062s + 1.920s
11. Brendon Hartley Gravity-Charouz 2m15.190s + 2.048s
12. Daniel Zampieri BVM Target 2m15.239s + 2.097s
13. Sergio Canamasas BVM Target 2m15.579s + 2.437s
14. Anton Nebylitskiy KMP 2m15.641s + 2.499s
15. Oliver Webb Pons 2m15.647s + 2.505s
16. Stephane Richelmi Draco 2m15.721s + 2.579s
17. Kevin Korjus Tech 1 2m15.811s + 2.669s
18. Andre Negrao Draco 2m15.867s + 2.725s
19. Sten Pentus Epic 2m15.925s + 2.783s
20. Daniel McKenzie Comtec 2m15.950s + 2.808s
21. Cesar Ramos Fortec 2m16.019s + 2.877s
22. Fairuz Fauzy Mofaz 2m16.147s + 3.005s
23. Walter Grubmuller P1 2m16.255s + 3.113s
24. Arthur Pic Tech 1 2m16.323s + 3.181s
25. Jan Charouz Gravity-Charouz 2m16.513s + 3.371s
26. Nathanael Berthon ISR 2m17.006s + 3.864s