Jean-Eric Vergne (Photo Credit: Renault Sport)

Jean-Eric Vergne (Photo Credit: Renault Sport)

JeanEric Vergne will start Race One at Paul Ricard from pole position as he edged out Epic‘s Albert Costa by 0.022 seconds in a tense qualifying session.

Costa, looking for his first win in the series, look set for pole until the Frenchman stormed to pole on his final flying lap to wow the home crowd.

Vergne said:  “It was a tough session. I had a very good car as we did a lot of setup work during the collective test. On my first flyer on new tyres I hit traffic. I did a good last lap but it wasn't perfect. I didn't know my position when I got out of the car. Pole's perfect. I'm looking after myself this weekend and I'll race without thinking of Robert. We'll see what happens!”

A closely-fought session was typified by the fact that the top eight runners were covered by less than half a second.

New Zealander Brendon Hartley, who recently ran for Ocean Racing Technology was third for GravityCharouz, just 0.083 seconds down on Vergne’s fastest run.

Hartley said: ”We've made quite a few changes in the team. We weren't on the pace at Silverstone. We've worked hard here and put things in order. I'm not in the running for the championship so I've got nothing to lose. I want to win, I want results, but I'm not going to interfere in the battle for the title. I know the drivers, we're all competitors!”

Championship leader Robert Wickens ended the session fourth after having to abort his final run due to attempting to avoid a spinner in front of him.

He said: “The car felt a little bit different this morning. Maybe because the weather was quite different to how it was yesterday, but the car didn't feel quite as consistent. I was still confident of being at the top though, and was second with only a few seconds to go. I was pushing hard for my last lap but then a car spun in front of me – I think it was Ramos – spun and I had to back out of it. It's a shame but I know we will have a quick car in the race.”

Alexander Rossi was fifth for Fortec Motorsport while Daniel Ricciardo, competing in his final Formula Renault 3.5 meeting of the season, completed the top six.

Pos Driver Team Time Gap
 1.  Jean-Eric Vergne   Carlin           1m51.423s
 2.  Albert Costa       Epic             1m51.446s  + 0.023s
 3.  Brendon Hartley    Gravity-Charouz  1m51.506s  + 0.083s
 4.  Robert Wickens     Carlin           1m51.545s  + 0.122s
 5.  Alexander Rossi    Fortec           1m51.586s  + 0.163s
 6.  Daniel Ricciardo   ISR              1m51.745s  + 0.322s
 7.  Jake Rosenzweig    Mofaz            1m51.888s  + 0.465s
 8.  Sten Pentus        Epic             1m51.892s  + 0.469s
 9.  Daniil Move        P1               1m52.045s  + 0.622s
10.  Kevin Korjus       Tech 1           1m52.108s  + 0.685s
11.  Nathanael Berthon  ISR              1m52.137s  + 0.714s
12.  Daniel Zampieri    BVM Target       1m52.178s  + 0.755s
13.  Cesar Ramos        Fortec           1m52.202s  + 0.779s
14.  Oliver Webb        Pons             1m52.207s  + 0.784s
15.  Jan Charouz        Gravity-Charouz  1m52.247s  + 0.824s
16.  Sergio Canamasas   BVM Target       1m52.346s  + 0.923s
17.  Walter Grubmuller  P1               1m52.357s  + 0.934s
18.  Nick Yelloly       Pons             1m52.358s  + 0.935s
19.  Andre Negrao       Draco            1m52.391s  + 0.968s
20.  Stephane Richelmi  Draco            1m52.509s  + 1.086s
21.  Nelson Panciatici  KMP              1m52.548s  + 1.125s
22.  Fairuz Fauzy       Mofaz            1m52.657s  + 1.234s
23.  Arthur Pic         Tech 1           1m52.865s  + 1.442s
24.  Anton Nebylitskiy  KMP              1m52.930s  + 1.507s
25.  Daniel de Jong     Comtec           1m53.113s  + 1.690s
26.  Daniel McKenzie    Comtec           1m53.253s  + 1.830s