Jake Dennis took advantage of the weather and his past experience of the Pau street circuit in France to take his maiden FIA European Formula 3 Championship pole position for race one.
The Briton, who switched from Carlin to Prema Powerteam during the off-season, was quickest in Group B of the qualifying, with his 1m21.795s enough to beat Charles Leclerc of Van Amersfoort Racing, who topped Group A of the split qualifying with a 1m22.845s.
Dennis’ quick lap means every driver in Group B will line-up on the odd-numbered grid slots, meaning Maximilian Günther, second fastest in Group B will start third for Mücke Motorsport, with Callum Ilott fifth in his Red Bull-backed Carlin machine.
Current championship leader Antonio Giovinazzi was second fastest in Group A, so the Jagonya Ayam with Carlin driver will therefore line-up fourth on the grid for race one, with Alexander Albon of Signature set to start sixth.
Alessio Lorandi of Van Amersfoort Racing will start a season-high seventh, with Mikkel Jensen of Mücke Motorsport eighth, while the top ten is completed by George Russell of Carlin and Arjun Maini of Van Amersfoort Racing.
Felix Rosenqvist, who had been unbeaten in qualifying so far in 2015, was unable to make it seven in a row, and will start a lowly fourteenth on the grid, just behind Prema Powerteam team-mates Lance Stroll and Brandon Maisano.
The Group B session had to be halted for a few minutes as red flags flew to clear up a two-car crash between Jagonya Ayam with Carlin’s Ryan Tveter and Michele Beretta of Mücke Motorsport.
With the nature of the Pau circuit, the circuit can only allow thirty-two cars to participate, meaning the bottom driver in each session will not qualify for the race. Double R Racing’s Nicolas Pohler and Team Motopark’s Mahaveer Raghunathan were the unfortunate drivers to not qualify for race one.
Pau Race 1 Qualifying Result (Group A)
|1||7||Charles Leclerc||MON||Van Amersfoort Racing||1m22.845s|
|2||3||Antonio Giovinazzi||ITA||Jagonya Ayam with Carlin||1m23.296s|
|4||27||Mikkel Jensen||DEN||Mucke Motorsport||1m23.570s|
|5||29||Arjun Maini||IND||Van Amersfoort Racing||1m23.723s|
|6||25||Lance Stroll||CAN||Prema Powerteam||1m23.919s|
|7||1||Felix Rosenqvist||SWE||Prema Powerteam||1m23.950s|
|8||23||Sergio Sette Camara||BRZ||Motopark||1m24.244s|
|9||5||Santino Ferrucci||USA||Mucke Motorsport||1m24.304s|
|12||31||Hongwei Cao||CHN||Fortec Motorsports||1m25.543s|
|13||11||Fabian Schiller||GER||Team West-Tec F3||1m25.825s|
|14||17||Julio Moreno||ECU||Threebond with T-Sport||1m26.434s|
|15||19||Matt Solomon||HKG||Double R Racing||1m26.679s|
|16||35||Kang Ling||CHN||Mucke Motorsport||1m26.873s|
Pau Race 1 Qualifying Result (Group B)
|1||2||Jake Dennis||GBR||Prema Powerteam||1m21.795s|
|2||28||Maximilian Gunther||GER||Mucke Motorsport||1m22.581s|
|4||8||Alessio Lorandi||ITA||Van Amersfoort Racing||1m22.651s|
|6||12||Pietro Fittipaldi||BRZ||Fortec Motorsports||1m23.091s|
|7||24||Brandon Maisano||FRA||Prema Powerteam||1m23.194s|
|8||4||Gustavo Menezes||USA||Jagonya Ayam with Carlin||1m23.287s|
|10||6||Michele Beretta||ITA||Mucke Motorsport||1m23.514s|
|11||38||Raoul Hyman||RSA||Team West-Tec F3||1m23.578s|
|14||14||Matt Rao||GBR||Fortec Motorsports||1m24.297s|
|15||26||Ryan Tveter||USA||Jagonya Ayam with Carlin||1m24.446s|
|DNQ||18||Nicolas Pohler||GER||Double R Racing||1m26.841s|