Points leader Oliver Rowland (Fortec Motorsports) boosted his chances of claiming the Formula Renault 3.5 Series title at the Circuit Bugatti Le Mans this weekend by clinching his sixth pole of the season. The Racing Steps Foundation driver stopped the clock at 1:21.002 to head the field from rookie Egor Orudzhev (Arden Motorsport). Matthieu Vaxiviere (Lotus), the only driver who can stop the Briton taking the title, will start third, ahead of his compatriot Tom Dillmann (Jagonya Ayam with Carlin) and Tio Ellinas (Strakka Racing).

The session began with a number of drivers having their times deleted for exceeding the track limits. Following a red flag caused by Beitske Visser (AVF), Matthieu Vaxiviere took to the top of the timesheets ten minutes in, with Oliver Rowland replacing him before the switch to new tyres.

In the closing three minutes Oliver Rowland outpaced everyone again with a lap of 1:21.002 to lead the way from rookie Egor Orudzhev, with French duo Matthieu Vaxiviere and Tom Dillmann occupying the second row ahead of Tio Ellinas.

The opening Formula Renault 3.5 Series race of the Le Mans weekend starts at 13:30.

Oliver Rowland : “I wanted to experiment the track limits a bit, but it quickly became clear that the race stewards had been strict. The car went well, but I have to say that Egor and Matthieu’s times were impressive too because I had a perfect lap, always at the limit. I only got three hours sleep last night so I’m pretty happy to be on pole. I just need to make a good start now, but everything’s in order to have a good race.”

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