Mathéo Tuscher overcame hailstorms during a tricky qualifying session at Portimão to secure pole for today's (Sunday) second Formula Two race.
The 15-year-old set the best time early on in the session during bright but damp conditions before a sudden downpour hit the track bringing out the red flags. When the session resumed with 20 minutes to go, only a few drivers were able to improve but not enough to topple the Swiss racer leaving him to start from the front row for this afternoon's round four.
2011 F2 runner-up Christopher Zanella finished second with yesterday's race-winner Luciano Bacheta in third ahead of Markus Pommer and McLaren Autosport Award finalist Dino Zamparelli.
Only a handful of drivers chose to take to the track immediately after the storm with Pommer keen to improve having only been able to record P16 before the rain came. Despite the continuing showers, the German set a time good enough for the second row of the grid.
Just outside the top five finished Brazilian newcomer Victor Guerin, who looked very strong in the wet ahead of Kevin Mirocha in seventh. Romanian Mihai Marinescu had been down the order but was able to improve to finish eighth ahead of Brit Hector Hurst. Fellow countryman Daniel McKenzie completed the top 10 for today's race which gets underway at 14:00 (local time) with full coverage on the F2 website together with live web streaming.
Speaking afterwards Tuscher, who has now scored two poles from four races, said: "When we first went out it was just to get a feeling for the track but then I saw the dark clouds and I knew I had to push before the rain came. There was a bit of luck involved and it was probably the strangest qualifying session I have ever done - you just couldn't see anything. I was pretty scared! We only went out again to help with the set-up for the race."
A post-qualifying investigation by the stewards saw Guerin handed a two place grid penalty for unsafe driving, dropping him to P8.
Click here to watch Tuscher's impressive pole lap
F2 Results: Portugal Qualifying 2:
1. Mathéo Tuscher, 1:52.543s
2. Christopher Zanella, +0.453s
3. Luciano Bacheta, +0.750s
4. Markus Pommer, +1.245s
5. Dino Zamparelli, +1.246s
6. Victor Guerin, +1.470s
7. Kevin Mirocha, +1.618s
8. Mihai Marinescu, +1.754s
9. Hector Hurst, +1.838s
10. Daniel McKenzie, +1.850s
11. Max Snegirev, +1.992s
12. Alex Fontana, +2.455s
13. David Zhu, +2.483s
14. Kourosh Khani, +3.818s
15. Mauro Calamia, +4.496s
16. Parthiva Sureshwaren, +5.390s
17. Plamen Kralev, +5.427s