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Barcelona Formula Renault 3.5: Jules Bianchi captures race one pole

Jules Bianchi BarcelonaJules Bianchi made the perfect start to this weekend's Formula Renault 3.5 title decider, taking pole for race one in an incident-packed qualifying session.

The Ferrari junior driver, who took the lead of the standings from Robin Frijns last time out at Paul Ricard, kept his composure in a session punctuated by red flags and full course yellows to always be near the top of the times.

After an early delay caused by Yann Cunha's car stopping just after the pit exit, Bianchi went fastest as everyone finally set their first flying laps seven minutes in.

The session was stopped shortly after that when his Tech 1 team-mate Daniel Abt spun. After that, Bianchi and title outsider Sam Bird joined the majority of the field in waiting to put a second set of tyres on rather than heading back out on their first sets.

Frijns, however, was one of the few to use his first set of tyres again, and with clear track he duly moved into provisional pole at the halfway stage of the session.

Another red flag - this time caused by Nikolay Martsenko crashing at Turn 3 - delayed the rush out of the pits when everyone was switching to their second sets. Kevin Magnussen briefly went fastest when the action re-started, but Bianchi responded seconds later to re-take top spot.

Andre Negrao was next to cause a red flag, setting up a three-minute shootout for pole. However, there were very few improvements, with the main drama coming as Frijns spun at Turn 12 on a lap that was unlikely to improve his position.

Prior to that, the Dutchman had moved up one place to sixth, but that still left him the lowest of the three title chasers. Bianchi was unchallenged for pole, while Bird kept his nose out of trouble to take fourth.

Magnussen had to make do with third thanks to a late improvement from Antonio Felix da Costa, while the Red Bull junior's Arden Caterham team-mate Alexander Rossi completed the top five.

Pos  Driver                  Team            Time       Gap
 1.  Jules Bianchi           Tech 1          1m29.986s
 2.  Antonio Felix da Costa  Arden Caterham  1m30.189s  + 0.203s
 3.  Kevin Magnussen         Carlin          1m30.451s  + 0.465s
 4.  Sam Bird                ISR             1m30.678s  + 0.692s
 5.  Alexander Rossi         Arden Caterham  1m30.698s  + 0.712s
 6.  Robin Frijns            Fortec          1m30.708s  + 0.722s
 7.  Mikhail Aleshin         RFR             1m30.916s  + 0.930s
 8.  Will Stevens            Carlin          1m30.991s  + 1.005s
 9.  Kevin Korjus            Lotus           1m31.006s  + 1.020s
10.  Walter Grubmuller       P1              1m31.280s  + 1.294s
11.  Arthur Pic              DAMS            1m31.313s  + 1.327s
12.  Marco Sorensen          Lotus           1m31.432s  + 1.446s
13.  Nick Yelloly            Comtec          1m31.469s  + 1.483s
14.  Aaro Vainio             RFR             1m31.546s  + 1.560s
15.  Carlos Huertas          Fortec          1m31.731s  + 1.745s
16.  Nico Muller             Draco           1m31.768s  + 1.782s
17.  Vittorio Ghirelli       Comtec          1m31.812s  + 1.826s
18.  Jake Rosenzweig         ISR             1m31.933s  + 1.947s
19.  Daniil Move             P1              1m31.958s  + 1.972s
20.  Lucas Foresti           DAMS            1m32.005s  + 2.019s
21.  Tamas Pal Kiss          BVM Target      1m32.277s  + 2.291s
22.  Andre Negrao            Draco           1m32.504s  + 2.518s
23.  Zoel Amberg             Pons            1m32.983s  + 2.997s
24.  Nikolay Martsenko       BVM Target      1m33.722s  + 3.736s
25.  Daniel Abt              Tech 1          -          -
26.  Yann Cunha              Pons            -          -
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