Philipp Eng claimed his second pole position of the 2010 FIA Formula Two season, hanging on to beat Dean Stoneman in the end by a convincing 0.533-second margin on the temporary street course in Marrakech, the series' first visit to Morocco.
Eng set fastest lap times thrice through the session, but it was his final effort that clinched the pole for the Austrian, a stonking lap that was clocked at 1:30.186, not only half a second faster than Stoneman's best, but nearly two seconds faster than the top times from Friday's session. Yes, the rubber laid down by F2 and WTCC cars certainly helped, but this was a qualifying flyer in its purest form.
Once Eng had notched his mark on the scoresheets, a flurry of activity followed in the dying minutes of the session. Stoneman's effort was enough to clinch a second front-row start for the weekend, 0.277 seconds ahead of Johan Jokinen, who will be looking to score maximum points tomorrow after his DNF in the first race today.
Jokinen narrowly beat out Will Bratt, by just 0.017 seconds. Bratt, too, will be looking for his first finish of the weekend tomorrow.
Kazim Vasiliauskas and Mihai Marinescu will start fifth and sixth, but Vasiliauskas' time was three tenths slower than Jokinen' and Marinescu was another two tenths back, so the two will have to find some extra speed tomorrow if they are to challenge for a podium position.
Jack Clarke and Nicola de Marco, who made contact and spun off on the first lap of today's race will share the fourth row for the second race.
Eng, who leads the F2 points standings with 55 to Palmer's and Stoneman's 43, will be looking to stretch his advantage tomorrow. But if today's race was any indication, there is nothing that can be taken for granted in tomorrow's race.