McLaren junior Nyck de Vries took the first pole position of his Formula 2 career at Spa, with George Russell stealing a march on title rival Lando Norris with second.
Prema Racing driver De Vries topped Friday's earlier practice session, but his qualifying appeared to be falling apart when his first flier - good enough to top the session at that point - was disallowed for a track limits infringement at Radillon.
But he then went out with 15 minutes to go and ran on his own while the other drivers remained in the pits, setting a new fastest lap of the session with 10 minutes remaining.
That meant the rest of the field had a free shot at the Dutchman's target as he sat on the sidelines, having used the best of his tyres, but de Vries' time of 1m56.054s proved good enough to secure his first series pole by a comfortable margin.
Russell was initially fastest with his best lap from his first run and then held on to second in the late running, despite failing to improve to beat de Vries.
With just 12 points separating him and Norris, ART Grand Prix driver Russell came out on top in qualifying.
To add insult to injury, Norris's Carlin team-mate Sergio Sette Camara and Campos Racing's Luca Ghiotto jumped him with their final flying laps to go third and fourth respectively, relegating the Brit to fifth.
Norris - whose morning was busy thanks to sharing F2 duties with an Formula 1 practice debut for McLaren in FP1 - ground to a halt after his flying lap, meaning he could not return to the pits.
Antonio Fuoco, who will start seventh, also stopped after his final lap.
DAMS driver Alexander Albon's bid to usurp Russell and Norris in the points table took a hit in sixth, while Arden's Nirei Fukuzumi (eighth) headed Fuoco's Charouz Racing System team-mate Louis Deletraz and last year's Spa feature race winner, Artem Markelov.
Russian driver Markelov had been as high as fourth after the first runs, but dropped back late on.
Another driver to rue track limits penalties was Russell's team-mate Jack Aitken, who set a fastest first sector of all and should have moved up from 16th spot but was also pinged for an infringement.
GP3 graduate Dorian Boccolacci, who has replaced Roberto Merhi at MP Motorsport, rounded out the order in 20th.
|1||Nyck de Vries||Pertamina Prema Theodore Racing||1m56.054s||-|
|2||George Russell||ART Grand Prix||1m56.457s||0.403s|
|3||Sergio Sette Camara||Carlin||1m56.594s||0.540s|
|4||Luca Ghiotto||Campos Vexatec Racing||1m56.611s||0.557s|
|7||Antonio Fuoco||Charouz Racing System||1m56.930s||0.876s|
|8||Nirei Fukuzumi||BWT Arden||1m57.169s||1.115s|
|9||Louis Deletraz||Charouz Racing System||1m57.183s||1.129s|
|10||Artem Markelov||RUSSIAN TIME||1m57.266s||1.212s|
|11||Tadasuke Makino||RUSSIAN TIME||1m57.394s||1.340s|
|13||Ralph Boschung||MP Motorsport||1m57.596s||1.542s|
|14||Maximilian Gunther||BWT Arden||1m57.635s||1.581s|
|16||Jack Aitken||ART Grand Prix||1m57.754s||1.700s|
|17||Roy Nissany||Campos Vexatec Racing||1m57.773s||1.719s|
|18||Sean Gelael||Pertamina Prema Theodore Racing||1m57.878s||1.824s|
|20||Dorian Boccolacci||MP Motorsport||1m58.338s||2.284s|