Jules Bianchi came out on top in a duel with team-mate Valtteri Bottas to take pole position for the first Formula 3 Euro Series race of the weekend at Oschersleben.
The ART pair exchanged places at the top of the order several times during the session, but Bianchi's effort with four minutes to go was good enough to seal the top spot.
Bottas was unable to improve in the closing stages, but his effort was good enough to keep him on the front row, ahead of Bianchi's nearest title rival Christian Vietoris who took third.
The top three enjoyed the best part of a 0.3-second gap back to the chasing pack, which will be led by Manor Motorsport's Roberto Merhi in fourth place.
Signature team-mates Jean-Karl Vernay and Mika Maki completed the top six thanks to improving their times in the dying moments of the session, while F3 rookie Alexander Sims jumped up to seventh with his final lap.
Former Euro Series race winner and current British F3 frontrunner Renger van der Zande put in a solid performance on his return to the championship with Motopark Academy, taking eighth place, while Esteban Gutierrez and Stefano Coletti completed the top 10.
Pos Driver Team Car Time Gap 1. Jules Bianchi ART D/M 1m20.706s 2. Valtteri Bottas ART D/M 1m20.838s + 0.132s 3. Christian Vietoris Mucke D/M 1m20.847s + 0.141s 4. Roberto Merhi Manor D/M 1m21.116s + 0.410s 5. Jean Karl Vernay Signature D/V 1m21.134s + 0.428s 6. Mika Maki Signature D/V 1m21.186s + 0.480s 7. Alexander Sims Mucke D/M 1m21.255s + 0.549s 8. Renger van der Zande Motopark D/M 1m21.328s + 0.622s 9. Esteban Gutierrez ART D/M 1m21.353s + 0.647s 10. Stefano Coletti Prema D/M 1m21.370s + 0.664s 11. Andrea Caldarelli SG D/M 1m21.519s + 0.813s 12. Henkie Waldschmidt SG D/M 1m21.611s + 0.905s 13. Marco Wittmann Mucke D/M 1m21.620s + 0.914s 14. Sam Bird Mucke D/M 1m21.647s + 0.941s 15. Cesar Ramos Manor D/M 1m21.739s + 1.033s 16. Christopher Zanella Motopark D/M 1m21.924s + 1.218s 17. Tom Dillmann HBR D/M 1m21.957s + 1.251s 18. Tiago Geronimi Signature D/V 1m21.964s + 1.258s 19. Jake Rosenzweig Carlin D/V 1m21.965s + 1.259s 20. Brendon Hartley Carlin D/V 1m22.206s + 1.500s 21. Pedro Enrique Manor D/M 1m22.242s + 1.536s 22. Nick Tandy Kolles & Heinz D/V 1m22.292s + 1.586s 23. Basil Shaaban Prema D/M 1m22.480s + 1.774s 24. Johan Jokinen Kolles & Heinz D/V 1m22.570s + 1.864s 25. Johnny Cecotto HBR D/M 1m22.865s + 2.159s