Kevin Magnussen beat championship rival Stoffel Vandoorne to pole position for the first Formula Renault 3.5 race of the weekend at Paul Ricard.
The two McLaren juniors came out on top in a frantic scrap in the closing minutes of the session, where Antonio Felix da Costa and Marco Sorensen both briefly had spells at the top as well.
Magnussen took pole from da Costa with just two minutes remaining, and with Vandoorne running just behind him on track and taking second, the Dane managed to go even quicker next time around to give him a margin of 0.3 seconds over his main rival.
Da Costa’s time was good enough to keep third, just ahead of Hungaroring race winner Nico Muller.
Sorensen appeared to have done enough to secure a top five slot, but as most of the cars headed back to the pits having used the best of their tyres already, Will Buller jumped up to fifth spot at the chequered flag.
Andre Negrao took seventh as Draco’s recent improved form continued, while Nigel Melker headed Carlos Sainz and Will Stevens to complete the top 10.