During a rain affected qualifying session, it was Sacha Fenestraz who kept his cool to take pole for the second of the Pau races in the European Formula 3 Championship. The Carlin driver set a late lap in Group B with the second half of the field unable to beat his benchmark.
The French driver, like many of the expected front-runners failed to make an impact in the first half of qualifying, but with five minutes remaining jumped to the top, while in Group A, Alex Palou dominated proceedings, but even he was unable to knock down Fenestraz as the weather got worse.
Ben Hingeley, after his crash in race one, was the driver setting the benchmark in the early part of Q2 Group B, with Enaam Ahmed just behind. The BRDC F3 champion remained competitive after a red flag to deal with the stricken Ralf Aron and led for much of the running.
A late charge from Jehan Daravula put Ahmed forced Ahmed to respond, but it would be Sacha Fenestraz, who after an anonymous session snatched Group pole at the last second with a 1min 23.620. Ahmed was second, while a final run from Hingeley saw him jump back ahead of Daravula and Jonathan Aberdein.
As Q2 Group A got underway, the Hitech GP drivers continued their strong run with Alex Palou setting the early pace as the rain continued to come down. It looked to be a surprise session with Julian Hanses running second for most of proceeding, until late runs from Fabio Scherer and Dan Ticktum demoted the German.
To the shock of many, Palou held on to hand himself a second place start as the rain ensured it was the slower group. The Spanish-born racer was over half a second quicker than the rest with Scherer leading Marcus Armstrong behind them. Rounding out the top five in the group was Hanses and Ticktum after the Brit ran off track in the closing stages.
With Group B proving to be quicker overall, Fenestraz was handed pole position from Palou, Ahmed, Scherer, Hingeley, Armstrong and the rest.
Prema Powerteam were left scratching their heads with Race 1 winner Guan Yu Zhou in sixteenth and Armstrong the only one of their drivers inside the top ten. Meanwhile, Hitech were beaming, getting all three cars in the top five.