Paul Ricard Formula Renault 3.5: Jules Bianchi pips Sam Bird to pole

Formula Renault 3.5 title chasers Jules Bianchi and Sam Bird locked out the front row of the grid for the second race at Paul Ricard on Sunday, with points leader Robin Frijns only eighth

Paul Ricard Formula Renault 3.5: Jules Bianchi pips Sam Bird to pole

But Bianchi's pole could yet come under threat, with the Tech 1 driver under investigation for an incident with Vittorio Ghirelli.

Polesitter Bianchi was a frontrunner from the moment the first flying laps got underway. During the first runs he traded blows at the top with Alexander Rossi, while later in the session he had to respond to an attack from Kevin Magnussen.

The Ferrari junior driver was then on course to improve again, but he clattered into the back of a touring Ghirelli into the final corner, ruining his lap and spinning the Italian.

However, any hopes his rivals had of taking advantage of that incident were dashed when the red flag came out with just 29 seconds remaining after Kevin Korjus stopped out on track.

That left Bianchi, who is 18 points behind Frijns in the championship, on pole, but the stewards are looking into the clash with Ghirelli.

Bird, who is next up in the standings and 32 points back, will start alongside him on the front row.

Nico Muller knocked Magnussen back another place to take third in the final minute, while Rossi had to settle for fifth after his early scrap for pole with Bianchi.

Arthur Pic and race one winner Antonio Felix da Costa were next up, with Frijns completing the fourth row just 0.4 seconds adrift of pole.

Saturday polesitter Nick Yelloly took ninth, while GP3 runner-up Daniel Abt had his best qualifying performance since switching to FR3.5 and completed the top 10.

Pos Driver Team Time Gap 1. Jules Bianchi Tech 1 1m48.103s 2. Sam Bird ISR 1m48.240s + 0.137s 3. Nico Muller Draco 1m48.295s + 0.192s 4. Kevin Magnussen Carlin 1m48.335s + 0.232s 5. Alexander Rossi Arden Caterham 1m48.386s + 0.283s 6. Arthur Pic DAMS 1m48.541s + 0.438s 7. Antonio Felix da Costa Arden Caterham 1m48.547s + 0.444s 8. Robin Frijns Fortec 1m48.565s + 0.462s 9. Nick Yelloly Comtec 1m48.709s + 0.606s 10. Daniel Abt Tech 1 1m48.766s + 0.663s 11. Vittorio Ghirelli Comtec 1m49.037s + 0.934s 12. Aaro Vainio RFR 1m49.145s + 1.042s 13. Lucas Foresti DAMS 1m49.205s + 1.102s 14. Mikhail Aleshin RFR 1m49.251s + 1.148s 15. Zoel Amberg Pons 1m49.362s + 1.259s 16. Andre Negrao Draco 1m49.390s + 1.287s 17. Walter Grubmuller P1 1m49.502s + 1.399s 18. Carlos Huertas Fortec 1m49.519s + 1.416s 19. Marco Sorensen Lotus 1m49.779s + 1.676s 20. Daniil Move P1 1m49.829s + 1.726s 21. Will Stevens Carlin 1m49.944s + 1.841s 22. Jake Rosenzweig ISR 1m50.107s + 2.004s 23. Yann Cunha Pons 1m50.546s + 2.443s 24. Davide Rigon BVM Target 1m50.569s + 2.466s 25. Nikolay Martsenko BVM Target 1m50.608s + 2.505s 26. Kevin Korjus Lotus 1m51.281s + 3.178s 
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