Jules Bianchi will start from pole for tomorrow's GP2 Series season opener in Barcelona after a strong performance in this afternoon's qualifying session.
The ART Grand Prix driver secured the top spot with a best lap of 1m27.727s, putting him a comfortable 0.284s clear of the nearest challenger, Barwa Addax's Sergio Perez.
Bianchi's effort was made to look all the more impressive by how competitive things were immediately behind him, with 11 cars covered by one second, and it came despite the Frenchman not actually finishing the session after he spun and stalled at the chicance with two minutes remaining.
Bianchi's teammate Sam Bird will start from third alongside Racing Engineering's Christian Vietoris for an all-rookie second row, and the third row was also locked up by first-timers in the shape of Oliver Turvey (iSport) and Charles Pic (Arden), with Dani Clos (Racing Engineering) lining up behind them.
While the first-timers were shining, the weekend has started on a different note for some of the series' more experienced hands. Pastor Maldonado (Rapax) managed no better than ninth, with current Asia Series champion Davide Valsecchi (iSport) immediately behind him, while Giedo van der Garde (Barwa Addax) ended up 13th, Jerome D'Ambrosio (DAMS) 16th and last year's Silverstone feature race winner Alberto Valerio (Coloni) 17th.