Lotus Formula 1 Junior driver Matthieu Vaxiviere claimed the first pole position of the 2015 Formula Renault 3.5 season at Aragon, underlining that his outstanding pre-season testing pace was representative.
The Frenchman moved ahead of Swedish rookie Gustav Malja by just 0.025 seconds, thanks to a final lap effort of 1m41.446s as the chequered flag was shown.
Fortec's Oliver Rowland secured third on the grid for Saturday afternoon's opening race.
The Racing Steps-backed Briton will line up ahead of Vaxiviere's Charouz-Lotus team-mate Meindert van Buuren, who delivered one of the most impressive qualifying performances of his career.
At the midway point of the half-hour session Jazeman Jaafar led the timing screens on his debut outing for Fortec, thanks to a time of 1m42.008s.
Although the Malaysian found four tenths on his final run, Jaafar slipped back to an eventual fifth, ahead of single-seater veteran Tom Dillmann - who is charged with leading Carlin's return to the series.
Dillmann is under investigation for breaching track limits.
Reigning FR3.5 champion and Toro Rosso Formula 1 driver Carlos Sainz Jr was on the DAMS pitwall to support team-manager Francois Sicard and his former squad at the start of the session.
The French outfit appeared mildly concerned when its Red Bull-backed driver Dean Stoneman suffered a minor trip across the grass on cold tyres.
Stoneman recovered and briefly held first place, but will start from seventh on the grid for his maiden outing in the series.
|2||Oliver Rowland||Fortec Motorsports||1m41.628s||0.182s|
|3||Meindert van Buuren||Lotus||1m41.674s||0.228s|
|4||Jazeman Jaafar||Fortec Motorsports||1m41.692s||0.246s|
|5||Tom Dillmann||Jagonya Ayam with Carlin||1m41.709s||0.263s|
|7||Tio Ellinas||Strakka Racing||1m41.844s||0.398s|
|8||Nicholas Latifi||Arden Motorsport||1m41.921s||0.475s|
|9||Nyck de Vries||DAMS||1m42.041s||0.595s|
|10||Pietro Fantin||International Draco Racing||1m42.149s||0.703s|
|12||Roberto Merhi||Pons Racing||1m42.471s||1.025s|
|13||Egor Orudzhev||Arden Motorsport||1m42.529s||1.083s|
|14||Sean Gelael||Jagonya Ayam with Carlin||1m42.624s||1.178s|
|16||Roy Nissany||Tech 1 Racing||1m42.678s||1.232s|
|17||Bruno Bonifacio||International Draco Racing||1m42.895s||1.449s|
|18||Philo Paz Armand||Pons Racing||1m42.965s||1.519s|
|19||Aurelien Panis||Tech 1 Racing||1m43.090s||1.644s|
|-||Gustav Malja||Strakka Racing||-||-|