Marussia Manor Racing’s Tio Ellinas will start from pole position at the opening round of the 2013 GP3 season despite only posting a time good enough for second.
The fastest man overall, Kevin Korjus, entered the session with a 10-place grid penalty after transgressing in free practice on Friday along with fellow Koiranen driver Patrick Kujala, Jenzer man Alex Fontana and highly rated Red Bull protege Carlos Sainz Jr.
Korjus had topped the session with a lap of 1m34.193s, just 0.040 seconds quicker than Ellinas.
The new-generation cars entering GP3 feature a far more powerful 3.4-litre AER V6 engine, producing 400bhp, and Korjus’ time was 4.305s faster than the qualifying record at Barcelona set by Mitch Evans in 2011.
The man who topped the free practice times, Patric Niederhauser of Jenzer Motorsport, will start alongside Ellinas on the front row after he set the third quickest time right at the end of the session, pipping two of the other penalised drivers – Fontana and Sainz Jr.
That means sixth-fastest qualifier and Conor Daly will start third for ART, despite his last flying lap appearing to be negatively influenced by Arden’s Daniil Kvyat, who will start alongside him on the second row.
Nick Yelloly will start fifth, ahead of two GP3 returnees Aaro Vainio and Facu Regalia. Other incidents included Ryan Cullen spinning his Marussia-run car at Turn 12, beaching himself on the inside kerb and causing a lengthy yellow flag near the end of the session. Melville McKee also spun at Turn 9, but stayed out of the gravel.