European F3 race winner Nick Cassidy claimed his first Super Formula pole position at Sportsland Sugo with a late flyer in Saturday’s qualifying session.
WEC star and Friday pacesetter Andre Lotterer led the first half of qualifying with a 1m09.558s lap, before times quickly tumbled towards the end of the session.
Red Bull junior Pierre Gasly went on top of the leaderboard with a 1m05.080s, which, at one point, seemed quick enough to seal pole.
That was until Cassidy went quicker still with a 1m04.910s moments after the chequered flag was dropped, denying Gasly his maiden pole position.
Team Impul’s Yuhi Sekiguchi also made a late improvement to go second quickest, dropping the Frenchman outside the front row of the grid.
Lotterer, whose title hopes suffered a major blow with a retirement in Autopolis, eventually qualified fourth, just 0.001s ahead of former F1 driver Kamui Kobayashi.
Nissan GT Academy winner Jann Mardenborough enjoyed a solid qualifying session in sixth, while Kazuki Nakajima qualified seventh on the grid.
Championship leader Hiroaki Ishiura was next up in eighth and the slowest of the drivers who made it into Q3.
Defending champion Yuji Kunimoto had to settle for ninth, with Daisuke Nakajima qualified alongside him on the fifth row of the grid. Nakajima and Gasly were the only two Honda runners to qualify inside the top 10.
Meanwhile, 2015 European F3 champion Felix Rosenqvist, who has been on the podium for the last three races, failed to make it into the final leg of qualifying and will start the penultimate round of the season in 12th.