Max Fewtrell beat Yifei Ye to top the first qualifying session of the 2018 Formula Renault Eurocup season at Paul Ricard.
It means Fewtrell will start from pole position in Sunday morning’s second race of the weekend, with the grid for Saturday afternoon’s season opener to be set by the second qualifying session that takes place just a few hours earlier.
The 2017 rookie champion Fewtrell set the quickest time despite running in the first of the two groups, gradually improving to a 2m02.531s.
He was 0.662 seconds faster than the next best driver in the first group, his R-ace GP team-mate Victor Martins, while practice pace-setter Christian Lundgaard made it a 1-2-3 in the group for Renault Sport Academy proteges.
In group two, Ye lowered his time to a 2m02.594s, but had to settle for second on the grid after failing to improve on his final effort.
Logan Sargeant came second in group two to take fourth on the grid and make it three R-ace GP drivers in the top four.
The American’s former British Formula 4 rival Oscar Piastri will line up sixth on the grid, just ahead of fellow Australians Alex Peroni and Thomas Maxwell.
Richard Verschoor and Max Defourny, two of the pre-season title favourites, could only manage a place on row five of the grid.
Red Bull Junior Neil Verhagen, who dominated testing at the same circuit last November before struggling in pre-season, will start down in 16th place after coming eighth of the 14 drivers in group two.
|Group A||?||Group B|
|1||Max Fewtrell||R-ace GP||2:02.531||1||Yifei Ye||Josef Kaufmann Racing||2:02.594|
|2||Victor Martins||R-ace GP||2:03.193||2||Logan Sargeant||R-ace GP||2:02.630|
|3||Christian Lundgaard||MP Motorsport||2:03.278||3||Oscar Piastri||Arden||2:02.981|
|4||Alex Peroni||MP Motorsport||2:03.450||4||Thomas Maxwell||JD Motorsport||2:02.239|
|5||Richard Verschoor||Josef Kaufmann Racing||2:03.558||5||Max Defourny||MP Motorsport||2:03.249|
|6||Alexander Smolyar||Tech 1 Racing||2:03.714||6||Charles Milesi||R-ace GP||2:03.428|
|7||Raul Guzman||Fortec Motorsports||2:03.752||7||Lorenzo Colombo||JD Motorsport||2:03.448|
|8||Alexander Vartanyan||Arden||2:03.787||8||Neil Verhagen||Tech 1 Racing||2:03.486|
|9||Frank Bird||Tech 1 Racing||2:03.813||9||Arthur Rougier||Fortec Motorsports||2:03.796|
|10||Sami Taoufik||Arden||2:03.921||10||Eliseo Martinez||AVF by Adrian Valles||2:03.858|
|11||Xavier Lloveras||AVF by Adrian Valles||2:04.112||11||Christian Munoz||AVF by Adrian Valles||2:04.348|
|12||Clement Novalak||Josef Kaufmann Racing||2:04.390||12||Axel Matus||AVF by Adrian Valles||2:04.376|
|13||Najiy Razak||JD Motorsport||2:05.756||13||Thomas Neubauer||Tech 1 Racing||2:04.792|
|14||Vladimir Tziortzis||Fortec Motorsports||2:04.950|