WSR: Rowland, Vaxiviere on pole at the Red Bull Ring

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Oliver Rowland and Matthieu Vaxiviere claimed one pole position apiece in Formula Renault 3.5 qualifying at the Red Bull Ring on Saturday.

The flagship series on the World Series by Renault package, Formula Renault 3.5 is seen as a final stepping stone to Formula 1 for junior drivers and has produced the likes of Daniel Ricciardo and Kevin Magnussen in recent years.

2015 championship leader Oliver Rowland returned from his outing at Silverstone in the GP2 Series last weekend to clinch pole position in the first qualifying session on Saturday morning.

The British driver edged out Lotus drivers Marlon Stockinger and Matthieu Vaxiviere at the top of the timesheets with a lap of 1:17.641. Red Bull junior driver Dean Stoneman qualified fourth ahead of Manor F1 driver Roberto Merhi.

Rowland was unable to carry his good form over into the second qualifying session in the afternoon, though, as he dropped to third place behind Vaxiviere and Merhi.

France’s Vaxiviere secured his fourth pole of the year with a lap of 1:18.160, improving late on in spite of light rain falling over the circuit.

Meindert van Buuren looked poised to claim his first pole position in the series, but a series of late laps left the Dutchman seventh on the grid.

Behind Rowland in third, Nyck de Vries qualified fourth ahead of Roy Nissany and Stockinger, whilst Alfonso Celis Jr, Nicholas Latifi and Pietro Fantin rounded out the top ten behind van Buuren.