Marco Sorensen came out on top in a head-to-head battle with Kevin Magnussen to take pole position for the first Formula Renault 3.5 race of the weekend at Spielberg.
The two Danes were locked in combat for the top spot from the moment they took to the track for their second runs. Both had several turns at the top as they improved on almost every lap they completed, which edged them away from the threat of those behind.
The session appeared to be building to a fantastic finish, with Magnussen (second at the time) just getting across the line before the chequered flag, and Sorensen looking set to improve his benchmark on his final lap.
Sorensen missed out on bettering his pole time by less than a tenth of a second, and his Lotus team then had to watch on as Magnussen set a personal best first sector. But the McLaren junior’s lap fell away in the middle sector, and he aborted the run to return to the pits.
Behind the Danish front row, Nigel Melker was best of the rest, while title outsider Will Stevens boosted his chances of making up ground by slotting onto the second row in the closing moments.
Early pacesetter Arthur Pic eventually took fifth place, just ahead of championship leader Stoffel Vandoorne and Red Bull junior Antonio Felix da Costa.
Da Costa appeared to have a frustrating session, only briefly getting as high as third in the order before he was quickly shuffled back.