Davide Rigon scored his first Superleague Formula pole position since the first-ever round at Donington Park in 2008 at Assen in Holland.
Rigon, who now drives for Anderlecht, beat ex-Formula 1 racer Franck Montagny (Bordeaux) in the head-to-head final by over half a second, with the quickest lap of the entire qualifying procedure at 1m23.687s.
In the first semi final, Montagny chased and caught Julien Jousse (Roma) through every sector, ending the lap 0.198sec faster. This was remarkable, as Jousse had set the fastest lap overall in the group stages, some three tenths quicker than his fellow Frenchman had previously achieved.
In semi two, Franck Perera (Flamengo) was ahead of Rigon (the only non-Frenchman in the semis) in both of the opening two sectors, but the former champion nailed the last corners to turn around a 0.033sec deficit to a 0.126sec advantage in his favour.
The first quarter final saw Jousse defeat Galatasaray's Tristan Gmmendy by over half a second, while Rigon saw off Alvaro Parente (Porto) by 0.168sec in the second. Perera beat Chris van der Drift (Olympiacos) in the third quarter.
The best was saved until last as Montagny beat home hero Yelmer Buurman (AC Milan) by 0.295sec in the last quarter final, but that did not tell the full story, as they were separated at the sector split times by 0.004 and 0.011sec until Montagny aced the final couple of corners. After the session, however, his name did flash up on the timing screens as being under investigation.
The big casualties of the group sessions were series leader Craig Dolby, whose Tottenham car was 1.139sec off the fastest time, and only seventh in Group A. Also falling at this hurdle was ex-F1 man Sebastien Bourdais (on pole here in Champ Car in 2007), who was only sixth fastest for Lyon.
The unluckiest man was Sevilla's Marcos Martinez, who missed out on qualifying for the knockout stages by 0.064sec. Also out of Group A were Borja Garcia (Sporting Lisbon) and Maria de Villota, who failed to make it out of the pits for newly-crowned Europa League champions Atletico Madrid.
Regular frontrunner Max Wissel was the leading light to fall in Group B, failing to make the top four cut-off by 0.14sec. Also failing to make it through were James Walker (Liverpool), John Martin (driving for the returning Beijing Guoan), local hero Robert Doornbos (Corinthians) and Narain Karthikeyan (PSV Eindhoven).