Matthieu Vaxiviere (Lotus) turned in a commanding display in the second Formula Renault 3.5 Series qualifying session of the weekend at Silverstone. Third yesterday, the Lotus F1 Team Junior driver eclipsed Jules Bianchi’s lap record to snare his fifth pole of the season. Posting a time of 1:39.828, the Frenchman was over half a second quicker than championship rival Oliver Rowland (Fortec Motorsports), with Nicholas Latifi (Arden Motorsport), Pietro Fantin (International Draco Racing) and yesterday’s race winner Tio Ellinas (Strakka Racing) the other drivers to make the top five.

Making the most of the dry, sunny conditions, Matthieu Vaxiviere laid down an early marker and then responded to his rivals’ ripostes to lead from team-mate Nick Yelloly (Lotus) at the halfway mark with a time of 1:41.280.

After bolting on new tyres, the field turned up the heat in the closing ten minutes, with Tom Dillmann (Jagonya Ayam with Carlin) unseating Matthieu Vaxiviere with five minutes remaining. Unfazed, the Lotus man to hit back with a lap of 1:39.828, six tenths faster than Jules Bianchi’s old lap record and good enough for top spot.

Taking second place on the timesheets, over half a second adrift, was Oliver Rowland. Despite coming in third-fastest, Nick Yelloly will drop four places down the grid following the penalty he incurred in Saturday’s race, leaving Nicholas Latifi and Pietro Fantin to occupy the second row ahead of Race 1 victor Tio Ellinas (Strakka Racing). Dean Stoneman (DAMS) was the pick of the rookies, qualifying in sixth place.

Sunday’s Formula Renault 3.5 Series race at Silverstone begins at 12:30 local time.

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