Invitation Class runner John Bryant-Meisner took a double pole for the opening round of the British Formula 3 International Series at Silverstone, but Jordan King was fastest of those who are eligible for points.
Bryant-Meisner, whose Performance Racing Dallara uses the spec Volkswagen engine from the German F3 Cup fitted with a boost button, was 0.837 seconds clear of King's best.
"It's hard to know how much quicker our car is," said the Swede, who sat out most of the 2012 season due to breaking his back in a testing shunt. "I'm just here to get as much track time as possible."
King's Carlin Dallara-Volkswagen leapt to the top of the FIA-rules F3 cars when the Englishman fitted his second set of tyres.
Team-mate Nicholas Latifi was fastest at the midpoint, when all the leading runners pitted for new Cooper rubber, but an off at Becketts on his first flying lap on new tyres damaged the floor and he could not improve. The Canadian dropped to seventh overall, but on second-best times, which decide the grid for race one, he finished up third.
The other Carlin runner, Welshman Jann Mardenborough, will start both races from the third row.
Will Buller's return to Fortec Motorsport ended with his Dallara-Mercedes taking third overall, but he drops to sixth on the race one grid. Team-mate Felix Serralles will start Sunday's final race from fifth, but moves up to fourth for this afternoon's event.
A much-improved performance from Indonesian Sean Gelael, for the first time returning to a circuit he knows, ended with him planting his Double R Racing Dallara-Mercedes in fourth fastest position overall. Antonio Giovinazzi was fastest of the Double R trio in the first half of the session, but a suspected engine problem meant he slid down the times.
Ed Jones was quickest by just over a second in the National Class with his European F3 Open-spec Team West-Tec Dallara-Toyota. The Anglo-Emirati took both class poles but ended the session with damage after an accident.
Second in class for Sunday's final race is another West-Tec Dallara, that of New Zealander Chris Vlok, although it is Chinese driver Sun Zheng, in the conventional British F3 National Class-spec Mugen-powered CF Racing Dallara, who will start from that spot on Saturday.
Race one grid: Pos Cl Driver Team/Car Time Gap 1. Inv John Bryant-Meisner Performance Dallara-VW 1m54.313s 2. Jordan King Carlin Dallara-VW 1m55.247s + 0.934s 3. Nicholas Latifi Carlin Dallara-VW 1m55.431s + 1.118s 4. Felix Serralles Fortec Dallara-Merc 1m55.441s + 1.128s 5. Jann Mardenborough Carlin Dallara-VW 1m55.520s + 1.207s 6. Will Buller Fortec Dallara-Merc 1m55.606s + 1.293s 7. Felipe Guimaraes Fortec Dallara-Merc 1m56.025s + 1.712s 8. Sean Gelael Double R Dallara-Merc 1m56.150s + 1.837s 9. Antonio Giovinazzi Double R Dallara-Merc 1m56.290s + 1.977s 10. Tatiana Calderon Double R Dallara-Merc 1m56.980s + 2.667s 11. Nat Ed Jones West-Tec Dallara-Toyota 1m57.407s + 3.094s 12. Nat Sun Zheng CF Dallara-Mugen 1m59.041s + 4.728s 13. Nat Chris Vlok West-Tec Dallara-Toyota 1m59.064s + 4.751s 14. Nat Roberto la Rocca West-Tec Dallara-Toyota 1m59.222s + 4.909s 15. Nat Cameron Twynham West-Tec Dallara-Toyota 1m59.595s + 5.282s 16. Nat B Alice Powell Mark Bailey Dallara-Toyota 1m59.893s + 5.580s 17. Nat Liam Venter West-Tec Dallara-Toyota 2m00.689s + 6.376s 18. Nat Sean Walkinshaw West-Tec Dallara-Toyota 2m00.980s + 6.667s 19. Nat Huan Zhu West-Tec Dallara-Toyota 2m02.487s + 8.174s Race three grid: Pos Cl Driver Team/Car Time Gap 1. Inv John Bryant-Meisner Performance Dallara-VW 1m53.882s 2. Jordan King Carlin Dallara-VW 1m54.719s + 0.837s 3. Will Buller Fortec Dallara-Merc 1m54.929s + 1.047s 4. Sean Gelael Double R Dallara-Merc 1m55.161s + 1.279s 5. Felix Serralles Fortec Dallara-Merc 1m55.266s + 1.384s 6. Jann Mardenborough Carlin Dallara-VW 1m55.312s + 1.430s 7. Nicholas Latifi Carlin Dallara-VW 1m55.383s + 1.501s 8. Felipe Guimaraes Fortec Dallara-Merc 1m55.755s + 1.873s 9. Antonio Giovinazzi Double R Dallara-Merc 1m56.175s + 2.293s 10. Tatiana Calderon Double R Dallara-Merc 1m56.880s + 2.998s 11. Nat Ed Jones West-Tec Dallara-Toyota 1m57.350s + 3.468s 12. Nat Chris Vlok West-Tec Dallara-Toyota 1m58.419s + 4.537s 13. Nat Roberto la Rocca West-Tec Dallara-Toyota 1m58.875s + 4.993s 14. Nat Sun Zheng CF Dallara-Mugen 1m58.928s + 5.046s 15. Nat Cameron Twynham West-Tec Dallara-Toyota 1m59.062s + 5.180s 16. Nat B Alice Powell Mark Bailey Dallara-Toyota 1m59.819s + 5.937s 17. Nat Sean Walkinshaw West-Tec Dallara-Toyota 2m00.548s + 6.666s 18. Nat Liam Venter West-Tec Dallara-Toyota 2m00.548s + 6.666s 19. Nat Huan Zhu West-Tec Dallara-Toyota 2m02.486s + 8.604s