Tottenham Hotspur's Craig Dolby was left to rue a brush with a concrete wall for missing out on pole position for Sunday's first-ever Superleague Formula street race in Beijing.
Dolby was leading FC Porto's Alvaro Parente in the first two sectors of their head-to-head final, but his mistake in the final section allowed the Portuguese driver to grab top spot.
"I had a mega first two sectors in the pole shootout but then I ran wide at Turn 12 and clipped the wall," said Dolby. "My heart stopped for a second, but thankfully we made it through and I'm happy with second. It's my first time ever around a street circuit and I'm really enjoying it.
"Our qualifying performance in the last few races hasn't been the best, so this is a great effort by the team. They've been awesome this weekend and this is a warning shot to the others – we're back!"
Parente only stepped off his plane from Europe on Friday morning, after visa problems meant he missed the Ordos event, and he missed the first practice session to catch up on sleep. But he quickly bounced back to take pole.
"It's been a bit of an adventure, but it's great to be here and to have put the car on pole position," said Parente. "We were down in the first two sectors but I was able to pull back Craig and take the pole position. There was not much in it, but just enough.
"I'm feeling confident and the car is good. The track is a big challenge, but I love street circuits. I'm in the best possible position for tomorrow and that's exactly where I wanted to be, so I'm really looking forward to the race now."