Tom Blomqvist struck back for the experienced racers by beating a trio of rookies to the first Formula 3 European Championship pole position of the season at Silverstone.
It was the maiden pole in the series for third-year Blomqvist, whose F3 career was saved this season by his selection for the Indonesian-backed Jagonya Ayam scheme, which has placed three drivers with Carlin's team of Dallara-Volkswagens for 2014.
"It feels bloody good to be honest," said the New Zealand-raised Anglo-Swede. "We lacked a bit of straight-line speed in free practice so we went low on downforce, and the car was really good.
"You only get two laps here with the tyres at their peak and I like that - it helped me out and it was a pretty tidy lap."
Newcomers Esteban Ocon, Antonio Fuoco and Max Verstappen, who stole the thunder in free practice this morning, ended up second, third and fourth respectively.
Lotus-backed Ocon was frustrated to lose out on pole by just 0.002 seconds in his Prema Powerteam Dallara-Mercedes.
The Frenchman pointed to his own mistakes in setting a lap time three tenths slower than his theoretical best.
His Prema team-mate Fuoco, a Ferrari protege, was a mere 0.051s down on pole and said he lost time with a slide on rubber from World Endurance Championship practice at the Brooklands left-hander.
Meanwhile, Verstappen continued his own eye-catching debut weekend by ending up 0.075s off pole in his Van Amersfoort Racing Dallara-Volkswagen.
Next up was a debuting team in fifth place, with West-Tec's Felix Serralles heading Carlin runners Jordan King and Ed Jones.
Prema duo Nicholas Latifi and Dennis van de Laar claimed eighth and ninth spots, with Lucas Auer the best of the Mucke Motorsport contingent in 10th.
Four places further back from Auer was his team-mate, pre-season title favourite Felix Rosenqvist, who had engine problems in free practice and felt the car was lacking speed in qualifying.
This qualifying session sets the grid for race one, with second qualifying later this afternoon forming the order for the second and third races.
Pos Driver Car Time Gap 1. Tom Blomqvist Carlin Dallara-VW 1m51.327s 2. Esteban Ocon Prema Dallara-Mercedes 1m51.329s +0.002s 3. Antonio Fuoco Prema Dallara-Mercedes 1m51.378s +0.051s 4. Max Verstappen Van Amersfoort Dallara-VW 1m51.402s +0.075s 5. Felix Serralles West-Tec Dallara-Mercedes 1m51.795s +0.468s 6. Jordan King Carlin Dallara-VW 1m51.808s +0.481s 7. Ed Jones Carlin Dallara-VW 1m51.848s +0.521s 8. Nicholas Latifi Prema Dallara-Mercedes 1m51.909s +0.582s 9. Dennis van de Laar Prema Dallara-Mercedes 1m51.951s +0.624s 10. Lucas Auer Mucke Dallara-Mercedes 1m51.987s +0.660s 11. Spike Goddard T-Sport Dallara-NBE 1m52.034s +0.707s 12. Antonio Giovinazzi Carlin Dallara-VW 1m52.146s +0.819s 13. Felipe Guimaraes Double R Dallara-Mercedes 1m52.166s +0.839s 14. Felix Rosenqvist Mucke Dallara-Mercedes 1m52.263s +0.936s 15. Jake Dennis Carlin Dallara-VW 1m52.337s +1.010s 16. Riccardo Agostini EuroInternational Dallara-Mercedes 1m52.350s +1.023s 17. Mitch Gilbert Fortec Dallara-Mercedes 1m52.365s +1.038s 18. Gustavo Menezes Van Amersfoort Dallara-VW 1m52.372s +1.045s 19. John Bryant-Meisner Fortec Dallara-Mercedes 1m52.392s +1.065s 20. Sean Gelael Carlin Dallara-VW 1m52.525s +1.198s 21. Alexander Toril T-Sport Dallara-NBE 1m52.550s +1.223s 22. Jules Szymkowiak Van Amersfoort Dallara-VW 1m52.711s +1.384s 23. Roy Nissany Mucke Dallara-Mercedes 1m52.769s +1.442s 24. Hector Hurst West-Tec Dallara-Mercedes 1m52.883s +1.556s 25. Michele Beretta EuroInternational Dallara-Mercedes 1m53.217s +1.890s 26. Tatiana Calderon Jo Zeller Dallara-Mercedes 1m53.311s +1.984s