Honda junior Souta Arao was fastest in French Formula 4 qualifying in Pau, taking pole with a lap he snuck in just before a red flag.
Arao didn’t appear at the top until he set a 1m17.491s with 1m47s left of qualifying to go. Just seconds before, yellow flags had been waved at turn seven after Romain Andriolo hit the tyre barrier there and got lodged, and then two seconds after Arao set his lap the session was red flagged.
With not enough for a restart to take place and drivers to then set a flying lap, it was then decided to wave the chequered flag on proceedings.
Prior to that the session had taken place under the constant threat of interruption by rain, but the drizzle only arrived in the tiniest of amounts and for mere seconds at a time, meaning the entirety of qualifying took place using slick tyres.
Championship leader Hugh Barter initially set the pace, with Enzo Geraci, Max Reis and Louis Pelet all getting turns at the top prior to Barter returning to first place with a 1m18.266s lap that put him over a second clear of the opposition.
Elliott Vayron and Enzo Peugeot demoted him to third a minute later though, before yellow flags came out at turn six.
Yuto Nomura brought the pace down into the 1m17s in the second half of the session, but Barter still had more time in the car to find and he claimed back provisional pole by three tenths of a second.
After that he set several laps within a tenth of a second of each other on pace, strengthening his chances of race three pole with that grid being set on second-best laptimes, but he could not better his earlier benchmark and Arao ended up being the only driver able to do so.
Arao went faster by 0.111s to earn pole for race one, but it was Barter who had the stronger second-best lap and he will start from the front for race three.
Peugeot, Alessandro Giusti and Nomura all ran sub-1m18s and were third, fourth and fifth fastest respectively.
Nomura’s second-best lap was only 0.002s slower than his best and will join Barter on the front row for race three ahead of compatriot Arao.
Race 1 grid
1 Souta Arao 1m17.491s
2 Hugh Barter +0.111s
3 Enzo Peugeot +0.376s
4 Alessandro Giusti +0.414s
5 Yuto Nomura +0.423s
6 Dario Cabanelas +0.579s
7 Elliott Vayron +0.643s
8 Pierre-Alexandre Provost +0.781s
9 Max Reis +0.911s
10 Romain Andriolo +0.963s
Race 3 grid
1 Barter 1m17.611s
2 Nomura +0.305s
3 Arao +0.344s
4 Giusti +0.431s
5 Peugeot +0.525s
6 Vayron +0.648s
7 Provost +0.764s
8 Andriolo +0.889s
9 Enzo Geraci +0.966s
10 Jeronimo Berrio +1.038s