Lewis Williamson (MW Arden) scored his maiden GP3 pole position in qualifying for the first race of the weekend in Valencia.
Last year's McLaren AUTOSPORT BRDC Award winner moved to the top of the times in the final minute of the session, having been on the fringes of the fight for pole throughout the 30 minutes.
The Scot's time knocked Adrian Quaife-Hobbs off the top of the times, and the Manor driver was bumped back a further place when Addax's Dean Smith moved up to second as the chequered flag fell.
Quaife-Hobbs enjoyed a long spell at the head of the field. But the lap that gave him pole for a while was hindered by traffic in the final sector, so he could have set an even tougher target for his rivals to beat.
Behind the all-British top three, Mitch Evans took fourth in a session where he completed fewer laps than everybody else. The Kiwi set the pace during the first runs, but he then spent a long time in the pits.
The MW Arden driver emerged with two minutes to go, but he pitted again at the end of his out-lap to leave him fourth on the grid.
Aaro Vainio (Tech 1) and Alexander Sims (Status) made late improvements to get themselves onto the third row, while Istanbul pole-sitter Tom Dillmann (Addax) appeared to be mounting a challenge at the death, but his lap fell away in the final sector to leave him seventh.
Championship leader Nigel Melker had a tough session on his way to 12th. The RSC Mucke driver dropped as low as 18th with five minutes remaining, but he repaired some of the damage in the closing stages.
Pos Driver Team Time Gap 1. Lewis Williamson MW Arden 1m58.693s 2. Dean Smith Addax 1m58.857s + 0.164s 3. Adrian Quaife-Hobbs Manor 1m58.881s + 0.188s 4. Mitch Evans MW Arden 1m58.892s + 0.199s 5. Aaro Vainio Tech 1 1m58.984s + 0.291s 6. Alexander Sims Status 1m58.986s + 0.293s 7. Tom Dillmann Addax 1m58.986s + 0.293s 8. Gabby Chaves Addax 1m59.023s + 0.330s 9. Valtteri Bottas ART 1m59.025s + 0.332s 10. James Calado ART 1m59.105s + 0.412s 11. Simon Trummer MW Arden 1m59.251s + 0.558s 12. Nigel Melker RSC Mucke 1m59.284s + 0.591s 13. Ivan Lukashevich Status 1m59.322s + 0.629s 14. Pedro Nunes ART 1m59.360s + 0.667s 15. Matias Laine Manor 1m59.375s + 0.682s 16. Rio Haryanto Manor 1m59.456s + 0.763s 17. Nico Muller Jenzer 1m59.496s + 0.803s 18. Michael Christensen RSC Mucke 1m59.542s + 0.849s 19. Daniel Morad Carlin 1m59.557s + 0.864s 20. Luciano Bacheta RSC Mucke 1m59.627s + 0.934s 21. Tamas Pal Kiss Tech 1 1m59.638s + 0.945s 22. Marlon Stockinger Atech CRS 1m59.706s + 1.013s 23. Maxim Zimin Jenzer 1m59.765s + 1.072s 24. Leonardo Cordeiro Carlin 1m59.791s + 1.980s 25. Conor Daly Carlin 1m59.817s + 1.124s 26. Nick Yelloly Atech CRS 1m59.895s + 1.202s 27. Antonio Felix da Costa Status 1m59.920s + 1.227s 28. Vittorio Ghirelli Jenzer 2m00.011s + 1.318s 29. Thomas Hylkema Tech 1 2m00.083s + 1.390s 30. Zoel Amberg Atech CRS 2m00.434s + 1.741s