SMP Racing's Matthieu Vaxiviere claimed his second Formula V8 3.5 pole position in two meetings at Silverstone on Saturday
The Frenchman went fastest with two minutes of the half-hour session remaining, and found a further tenth of a second improvement on his second flying lap to record a pole time of 1m40.586s.
"I was down in P5 after the first run, and then I made some changes with my engineer," said Vaxiviere.
"I have to say the team prepared really well for this weekend. I have a fresh engine, as in Le Castellet I was losing 8km/h on the straights.
"The only thing I can complain about is I didn't manage to beat my record pole time from last year [when driving for the Charouz-run Lotus team]."
Pre-season championship favourite Vaxiviere dropped to sixth in the drivers' standings following a retirement in the last race at Paul Ricard, and admitted to concern over the limited rounds remaining to stage a recovery.
"My only concern now is to getting the 25 points for victory," he said.
"If I am going to win this title, I need to score really strongly in order to make up lost ground."
Fellow SMP-backed man Egor Orudzhev will join Vaxiviere on the front row for Saturday afternoon's opening race. The Arden racer was 0.106s quicker than Friday practice pacesetter Roy Nissany.
Championship leader Tom Dillmann maintained his consistently high starting positions in 2016 by taking fourth for AVF Formula.
Fortec's drivers reported suffering from understeer in Friday practice, but Ricard winner Louis Deletraz demonstrated an improvement in qualifying by holding provisional pole with two minutes left on the clocks.
The Swiss was eventually demoted to fifth, and leading rookie, ahead of the second Arden entry of Aurelien Panis.
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