Nigel Melker has taken his second GP3 pole of the season following a tense qualifying session at Istanbul today.
The Mucke Motorsport driver secured the top spot with a stunning 1m46.361s lap just 90 seconds before the end of the session, which put the Dutchman 0.238s clear of nearest rival Esteban Gutierrez (ART) - a significant margin on a morning where positions were being decided by hundredths of a second.
Up to that point Gutierrez had looked fairly safe on top. The Mexican had led the session from the moment he bolted on his second set of tyres 15 minutes in, despite a brief scare when he found himself unable to select a gear while in the pits.
That problem was solved fairly quickly, and another one took care of itself when Manor's Adrian Quaife-Hobbs, who had looked like Gutierrez's biggest threat, spun and stalled at Turn 10 with just a couple of minutes remaining.
Melker's late flyer relegated Gutierrez to second, with Carlin's Dean Smith third. Quaife-Hobbs held on to fourth, just ahead of team-mate James Jakes.
It was a difficult morning for some of the other drivers, not least MW Arden's Michael Christensen, who will start from the back row after his car lost its right-rear wheel at Turn 3.
Pos Driver Team Time Gap 1. Nigel Melker RSC Mucke 1m46.361s 2. Esteban Gutierrez ART 1m46.599s + 0.238s 3. Dean Smith Carlin 1m46.728s + 0.367s 4. Adrian Quaife-Hobbs Manor 1m46.823s + 0.462s 5. James Jakes Manor 1m46.900s + 0.539s 6. Daniel Morad Status 1m46.931s + 0.570s 7. Felipe Guimaraes Addax 1m46.987s + 0.626s 8. Simon Trummer Jenzer 1m47.074s + 0.713s 9. Alexander Rossi ART 1m47.111s + 0.750s 10. Tobias Hegewald RSC Mucke 1m47.163s + 0.802s 11. Mirko Bortolotti Addax 1m47.222s + 0.861s 12. Miki Monras MW Arden 1m47.222s + 0.861s 13. Nico Muller Jenzer 1m47.226s + 0.865s 14. Jim Pla Tech 1 1m47.238s + 0.877s 15. Pal Varhaug Jenzer 1m47.264s + 0.903s 16. Pablo Sanchez Lopez Addax 1m47.287s + 0.926s 17. Leonardo Cordeiro MW Arden 1m47.393s + 1.032s 18. Rio Haryanto Manor 1m47.449s + 1.088s 19. Doru Sechelariu Tech 1 1m47.494s + 1.133s 20. Oliver Oakes Atech CRS 1m47.506s + 1.145s 21. Josef Newgarden Carlin 1m47.638s + 1.277s 22. Robert Wickens Status 1m47.665s + 1.304s 23. Stefano Coletti Tech 1 1m47.732s + 1.371s 24. Mikhail Aleshin Carlin 1m47.884s + 1.523s 25. Ivan Lukashevich Status 1m47.892s + 1.531s 26. Patrick Reiterer Atech CRS 1m48.234s + 1.873s 27. Pedro Nunes ART 1m48.326s + 1.965s 28. Vittorio Ghirelli Atech CRS 1m48.552s + 2.191s 29. Michael Christensen MW Arden 1m48.857s + 2.496s 30. Renger van der Zande RSC Mucke 1m49.171s + 2.810s