Maximilian Gunther took a stunning pole position for the first race of the Formula 3 European Championship round at the Hungaroring in wet conditions after a pre-session thunderstorm.
The Bavarian Mercedes DTM junior set three laps considerably faster than the rest of the field, and his Prema Powerteam Dallara-Mercedes finished 0.352 seconds clear of closest rival Joey Mawson.
"It was pretty much ideal qualifying for us," said 2016 series runner-up Gunther, who had not previously taken a pole position this season.
"I felt comfortable on the track directly, and knew more or less what to do - there was a lot of water early on and aquaplaning, but I knew it should not be raining anymore so it was just important to follow the track conditions."
Gunther is also confident of his dry-weather pace, despite finishing free practice in seventh place and being one of several drivers to be black-flagged for taking liberties with track limits at the ultra-fast Turn 4.
"We know what to improve for the dry, and we're not worried about our performance - we know exactly what to do," he said.
Rookie Mawson's best F3 qualifying effort to date comes hand in hand with a three-place grid penalty - which some believe was harshly awarded - for his part in a chain-reaction collision on a safety-car restart at the previous round in Pau.
That means his Van Amersfoort Racing car will be relegated to fifth on the grid.
"Whenever I qualify well I have a grid penalty..." said Mawson.
"When we had a bit of a downpour, let's say I wasn't frowning - I felt quite comfortable and kept adapting, and when my engineer said I was P2 it was a nice boost."
Jake Hughes inherits Mawson's front-row spot, changing his lines late in the session - after initially taking the conventional wet outside 'karting' route - and vaulting to third in his Hitech GP car, leading a group of nine drivers covered by just 0.157s.
Jehan Daruvala made a big improvement in wet-weather form to exactly equal Hughes's time and take third on the grid in his Carlin car, while Callum Ilott joins him on the second row in his Prema-run machine.
Alongside Mawson on the third row will be his VAR team-mate, Pedro Piquet.
Carlin's McLaren protege Lando Norris made a late pitstop to change tyre pressures and just managed to stamp in one end-of-session lap to salvage seventh on the grid, ahead of Prema's Ferrari junior Guan Yu Zhou, with Harrison Newey (VAR) and Mick Schmuacher (Prema) completing the top 10.
The other talking point was the abysmal form of Motopark.
Championship leader Joel Eriksson was supreme in free practice but the team's quartet of cars filled the bottom four spaces, with Eriksson 17th out of 18.
"We proper fucked it up," said team boss Timo Rumpfkeil. "We were too high on the tyre pressures."
|1||Maximilian Gunther||Prema Powerteam||1m49.369s||-|
|2||Joey Mawson||Van Amersfoort Racing||1m49.721s||0.352s|
|5||Callum Ilott||Prema Powerteam||1m50.235s||0.866s|
|6||Pedro Piquet||Van Amersfoort Racing||1m50.279s||0.910s|
|8||Guan Yu Zhou||Prema Powerteam||1m50.310s||0.941s|
|9||Harrison Newey||Van Amersfoort Racing||1m50.336s||0.967s|
|10||Mick Schumacher||Prema Powerteam||1m50.345s||0.976s|