Victor Martins secured his second Formula 2 pole in qualifying at the Red Bull Ring as track limit violations continued to play a part in the order of the timesheets.
The ART Grand Prix driver topped most of the 30-minute session while points leader Frederik Vesti edged chief title rival Theo Pourchaire to second.
Martins posted an opening effort of 1m14.926s to lead the way by 0.151 seconds from free practice pacesetter Enzo Fittipaldi.
Virtuosi Racing’s Jack Doohan improved on his second timed lap to third place ahead of Vesti, which became second when Fittipaldi’s laptime was deleted for exceeding track limits.
Doohan then had his best lap removed and slipped back to fifth, with team-mate Amaury Cordeel moving up to second ahead of Vesti and Pourchaire at the halfway stage.
There was a brief lull in the action as drivers returned to the pitlane to prepare for their second runs, and there was a flurry of improvements in the final few minutes.
Fittipaldi was one of the first to better his time, moving up to second, but the Rodin Carlin driver was soon demoted down to seventh as others went faster.
Martins went quicker still with a 1m14.643s, a time that would not be beaten, while Vesti pipped Pourchaire to second. Doohan improved but remained fifth behind Campos Racing’s Kush Maini.
Fittipaldi was thwarted in his attempts to improve, with Jehan Daruvala recovering from a trip through the gravel in front of him, but the Brazilian still gained once place to sixth after Ayuma Iwasa had his best lap taken away.
Amaury Cordeel ended up seventh ahead of Arthur Leclerc, another to have a laptime deleted over track limits, while Daruvala was ninth. Hitech GP’s Jak Crawford provisionally secured reversed-grid pole for Saturday’s sprint race in 10th.
Prema’s Ollie Bearman also fell foul of track limits, incurring a final warning by being shown the black-and-white flag, and qualified 19th.
|1||Victor Martins||ART Grand Prix||1m14.643s||14|
|3||Theo Pourchaire||ART Grand Prix||1m14.813s||+0.170s||14|
|4||Kush Maini||Campos Racing||1m14.858s||+0.215s||14|
|5||Jack Doohan||Virtuosi Racing||1m14.860s||+0.217s||18|
|7||Amaury Cordeel||Virtuosi Racing||1m14.987s||+0.344s||14|
|9||Jehan Daruvala||MP Motorsport||1m15.085s||+0.442s||17|
|10||Jak Crawford||Hitech GP||1m15.087s||+0.444s||15|
|11||Richard Verschoor||Van Amersfoort Racing||1m15.128s||+0.485s||17|
|12||Juan Manuel Correa||Van Amersfoort Racing||1m15.203s||+0.560s||17|
|13||Dennis Hauger||MP Motorsport||1m15.237s||+0.594s||16|
|14||Roy Nissany||PHM by Charouz||1m15.244s||+0.601s||17|
|18||Brad Benavides||PHM by Charouz||1m15.650s||+1.007s||17|
|21||Isack Hadjar||Hitech GP||1m15.808s||+1.165s||11|
|22||Ralph Boschung||Campos Racing||1m15.828s||+1.185s||15|