Barcelona FR3.5: Kevin Magnussen grabs pole for potential decider

Kevin Magnussen gave himself the best possible chance of sealing the Formula Renault 3.5 championship in race one at Barcelona by taking pole position on Saturday morning

Barcelona FR3.5: Kevin Magnussen grabs pole for potential decider

The McLaren junior, who only needs to finish sixth to be assured of the title before Sunday's season finale, controlled the session from start to finish.

Magnussen and DAMS team-mate Norman Nato led the way after the first runs of the session, but while Nato would slip back as the times improved, Magnussen was able to respond to everything his rivals could throw at him to take his seventh pole position of the season.

After the Dane had kicked off the final flurry of activity by beating his own best lap with five minutes to go, that effort was beaten by Carlos Sainz Jr, Nigel Melker, Will Buller and Will Stevens.

But Magnussen was patient, backing off before launching another bid for pole and beating Stevens by a tenth of a second.

His title rival Stoffel Vandoorne tried a similar tactic, but after going second to Magnussen on his first attempt he could only recover to fourth with his final hot lap. Britons Stevens and Buller split the title rivals on the grid, while behind Vandoorne the top six was completed by Marco Sorensen and Sergey Sirotkin.

Melker, Sainz and Nato were shuffled back to seventh, eighth and ninth respectively after their brief heroics earlier on, while Red Bull junior Antonio Felix da Costa - who won both races at Barcelona last year - could only manage 10th on the grid.

Only 25 cars will take part in the race, as Jazeman Jaafar is not fit to compete having been taken to hospital with an infection, which also forced him to miss free practice on Friday.

Pos Driver                  Team/Car        Time        Gap  
 1. Kevin Magnussen         DAMS            1m29.618s
 2. Will Stevens            P1/Strakka      1m29.725s  +0.107s
 3. William Buller          Zeta            1m29.885s  +0.267s
 4. Stoffel Vandoorne       Fortec          1m29.932s  +0.314s
 5. Marco Sorensen          Lotus           1m29.961s  +0.343s
 6. Sergey Sirotkin         ISR             1m29.981s  +0.363s
 7. Nigel Melker            Tech 1          1m30.020s  +0.402s
 8. Carlos Sainz Jr         Zeta            1m30.034s  +0.416s
 9. Norman Nato             DAMS            1m30.078s  +0.460s
10. Antonio Felix da Costa  Arden Caterham  1m30.208s  +0.590s
11. Nico Muller             Draco           1m30.306s  +0.688s
12. Mikhail Aleshin         Tech 1          1m30.333s  +0.715s
13. Marlon Stockinger       Lotus           1m30.358s  +0.740s
14. Arthur Pic              AV              1m30.381s  +0.763s
15. Matias Laine            P1/Strakka      1m30.599s  +0.981s
16. Christopher Zanella     ISR             1m30.601s  +0.983s
17. Andre Negrao            Draco           1m30.662s  +1.044s
18. Oliver Webb             Fortec          1m30.675s  +1.057s
19. Nikolay Martsenko       Pons            1m30.783s  +1.165s
20. Zoel Amberg             Pons            1m30.799s  +1.181s
21. Daniil Move             SMP/Comtec      1m30.812s  +1.194s
22. Lucas Foresti           SMP/Comtec      1m30.868s  +1.250s 
23. Pietro Fantin           Arden Caterham  1m30.907s  +1.289s
24. Yann Cunha              AV              1m31.126s  +1.508s
25. Carlos Huertas          Carlin          1m31.185s  +1.567s
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Barcelona FR3.5: Kevin Magnussen fastest in practice at finale
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