Wittmann and Merhi take poles

Marco Wittmann and Roberto Merhi took the two pole positions on offer from Formula 3 Euro Series qualifying at Hockenheim

Wittmann and Merhi take poles

The pair were engaged in a scrap during the session for the overall fastest time - which sets the grid for race three on Sunday.

Merhi appeared to be in control of that battle when he rattled off two laps in succession that were good enough for pole with six minutes remaining.

But Signature driver Wittmann responded just one minute later to narrowly take top spot, and from then on the plans of Prema duo Merhi and Daniel Juncadella were hindered by a red flag.

The stoppage, caused by Nigel Melker, occurred with just four minutes remaining. Crucially, Merhi had just set the fastest time through the first sector before the red flag, while Juncadella was getting up to speed after waiting longer than his rivals to start his final run of the session.

When the session restarted, there wasn't enough time left for anybody to get their tyres up to temperature to set a better lap time.

That left Merhi and Juncadella second and third for race three, with Laurens Vanthoor fourth for Signature. The top six was completed by Felix Rosenqvist (Mucke), and rookie Daniel Abt (Signature), with the latter opting not to go out for the final four minutes following the restart.

The grid for the first race of the weekend is set by taking each driver's second fastest lap. Merhi's burst of two quick laps in the middle of the session means that he has pole for Saturday morning's race, with Juncadella completing a front row lockout for Prema Powerteam.

Vanthoor, Rosenqvist, Wittmann and Abt completed the top six for race one. Race two's grid is determined by reversing the top eight finishing positions from race one.

The grid could have had a different shape to it had several drivers not been penalised for going outside the track limits. The stewards were removing the lap times during the session when people were going off track, and in total nine drivers had laps discredited during the 30-minute session.

Race one grid: Pos Driver Team/Car Time Gap 1. Roberto Merhi Prema Dallara-Merc 1m33.282s 2. Daniel Juncadella Prema Dallara-Merc 1m33.606s + 0.324s 3. Laurens Vanthoor Signature Dallara-VW 1m33.641s + 0.359s 4. Felix Rosenqvist Mucke Dallara-Merc 1m33.646s + 0.364s 5. Marco Wittmann Signature Dallara-VW 1m33.704s + 0.422s 6. Daniel Abt Signature Dallara-VW 1m33.812s + 0.530s 7. Jimmy Eriksson Motopark Dallara-VW 1m33.819s + 0.537s 8. Nigel Melker Mucke Dallara-Merc 1m33.832s + 0.550s 9. Tom Dillmann Carlin Dallara-VW 1m33.944s + 0.662s 10. Carlos Munoz Signature Dallara-VW 1m34.092s + 0.810s 11. Carlos Huertas Carlin Dallara-VW 1m34.277s + 0.995s 12. Kimiya Sato Motopark Dallara-VW 1m34.303s + 1.021s 13. Jazeman Jaafar Carlin Dallara-VW 1m34.365s + 1.083s 14. Kuba Giermaziak Star Dallara-VW 1m34.418s + 1.136s 15. Gianmarco Raimondo Motopark Dallara-VW 1m34.938s + 1.656s 16. Sandro Zeller Jo Zeller Dallara-Merc 1m35.262s + 1.980s Race three grid: Pos Driver Team/Car Time Gap 1. Marco Wittmann Signature Dallara-VW 1m33.152s 2. Roberto Merhi Prema Dallara-Merc 1m33.249s + 0.097s 3. Daniel Juncadella Prema Dallara-Merc 1m33.490s + 0.338s 4. Laurens Vanthoor Signature Dallara-VW 1m33.538s + 0.386s 5. Felix Rosenqvist Mucke Dallara-Merc 1m33.583s + 0.431s 6. Daniel Abt Signature Dallara-VW 1m33.684s + 0.532s 7. Nigel Melker Mucke Dallara-Merc 1m33.751s + 0.599s 8. Tom Dillmann Carlin Dallara-VW 1m33.757s + 0.605s 9. Jimmy Eriksson Motopark Dallara-VW 1m33.810s + 0.658s 10. Kimiya Sato Motopark Dallara-VW 1m34.060s + 0.908s 11. Carlos Munoz Signature Dallara-VW 1m34.085s + 0.933s 12. Carlos Huertas Carlin Dallara-VW 1m34.187s + 1.035s 13. Kuba Giermaziak Star Dallara-VW 1m34.205s + 1.053s 14. Jazeman Jaafar Carlin Dallara-VW 1m34.332s + 1.180s 15. Gianmarco Raimondo Motopark Dallara-VW 1m34.823s + 1.671s 16. Sandro Zeller Jo Zeller Dallara-Merc 1m35.253s + 2.101s 
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