Carlos Sainz Jr led a Red Bull lockout of the front row in Formula Renault 3.5 qualifying at Paul Ricard on Saturday morning, with Pierre Gasly taking second place.
Championship leader Sainz responded well to a disappointing weekend last time out in Hungary, being a factor in the fight for pole throughout the 30-minute session.
In the end it was a lap he put in with around two minutes left on the clock - which initially put him 0.4 seconds clear of the field - that was good enough for pole.
Sainz had to sweat it out in the final seconds though, as second-placed Gasly closed to just 0.062s of his best lap and was improving again on his final effort - by which time the Spaniard had used the best of his tyres.
However, the Frenchman's lap fell away in the final sector, and Sainz, whose own final attempt was going to be slower anyway, was able to abort it and return to the pits with pole secured.
His main championship rival Roberto Merhi qualified fourth fastest, just behind Matthieu Vaxiviere, who showed that the Lotus team's Friday form was genuine as he and Marlon Stockinger were both in the mix when it mattered.
Sergey Sirotkin took fifth, while his Fortec Motorsports team-mate Oliver Rowland slipped to eighth in the closing stages after leading the way during the first half of the session.
Rowland's second run was blighted by fuel starvation issues, and although he managed a minor improvement on his final lap, it was not enough to vault him back into contention at the front of the field.
|1||Carlos Sainz Jr.||DAMS||1m47.436s||-||13|
|2||Pierre Gasly||Arden Motorsport||1m47.498s||0.062s||14|
|4||Roberto Merhi||Zeta Corse||1m47.879s||0.443s||12|
|5||Sergey Sirotkin||Fortec Motorsports||1m47.950s||0.514s||14|
|8||Oliver Rowland||Fortec Motorsports||1m48.106s||0.670s||13|
|10||Marco Sorensen||Tech 1 Racing||1m48.208s||0.772s||12|
|11||Luca Ghiotto||International Draco Racing||1m48.255s||0.819s||13|
|12||Will Stevens||Strakka Racing||1m48.275s||0.839s||14|
|13||Esteban Ocon||Comtec Racing||1m48.298s||0.862s||13|
|14||Matias Laine||Strakka Racing||1m48.352s||0.916s||13|
|15||Nicholas Latifi||Tech 1 Racing||1m48.434s||0.998s||13|
|16||William Buller||Arden Motorsport||1m48.458s||1.022s||12|
|18||Pietro Fantin||International Draco Racing||1m48.551s||1.115s||13|
|20||Meindert van Buuren||Pons Racing||1m48.647s||1.211s||12|
|21||Oscar Tunjo||Pons Racing||1m48.698s||1.262s||12|
|22||Cameron Twynham||Comtec Racing||1m49.086s||1.650s||13|