Laurens Vanthoor topped qualifying for the Blancpain Sprint Series round at Brands Hatch, denying Nogaro winner Maximilian Gotz at the very end of the session.
Wide moments at Stirlings and Clearways had cost WRT Audi driver Vanthoor on earlier Q3 laps, but the 2013 champion managed to put together a clean lap after the checkered flag to steal first place away from HTP Mercedes pairing of Gotz and Maximilian Buhk by just 0.022 seconds.
Vanthoor and co-driver Cesar Ramos are aiming to fight back this weekend after receiving contact on the formation lap of the main race in Nogaro when they were starting from pole position.
Despite only just squeezing through to Q3 with the tenth best time, Jeroen Bleekemolen was a threat to repeat his Nogaro pole and finished up third in the Grasser Racing Lamborghini he shares with Hari Proczyk.
Q2 pace-setter Markus Winkelhock wound up fourth in the Phoenix Racing Audi he shares with Niki Mayr-Melnhof, ahead of impressive newcomer Valdeno Brito, who is filling in for Global Rallycross-engaged Nelson Piquet Jr in the BMW Brazil team.
Alex Zanardi enjoyed an encouraging return to the venue of his Paralympic Games triumph by claiming sixth spot in his ROAL Motorsport BMW ahead of Sergio Jimenez in the second Brazil car. Nine of the final ten got through to Q3 based upon their Q2 times, and although Caca Bueno was 14th in the #0 car in that session, Jimenez’s Q1-topping time was enough for the pair to get through with the ninth best time.
Usual pole contender Rene Rast could only muster eighth in the second WRT Audi co-driven by Enzo Ide, with the top ten completed by Andrea Montermini‘s Scuderia Villorba Ferrari and the second ROAL BMW of ex-GP3 racer David Fumanelli.