Nico Hulkenberg will start tomorrow's GP2 feature race from pole position after another dominant performance in qualifying in Valencia this afternoon.
As expected, the session was fought out between the ART driver and Vitaly Petrov, his main title rival. Hulkenberg set his marker early on, but with an advantage of less than 0.1s over the Russian, the top place on the grid was far from secure.
After stopping for fresh tires, Petrov made his move with eight minutes remaining and was on what was shaping up to be a good lap when he went off the circuit. He rejoined, but suspicions that something was amiss were confirmed when he drove straight back into pitlane and climbed out of the car.
Adding to Petrov's misery, Hulkenberg chose that moment to strike, producing a 1m45.025s effort that was a full 0.4s quicker than the now-neutralized Petrov's best time, and well beyond the reach of anyone else.
Racing Engineering's Lucas di Grassi was third-fastest and provided some late entertainment by breaking down on his in-lap at the end of the session, while Sergio Perez achieved his best GP2 qualifying result to date with fourth.
The session was interrupted by a stoppage 12 minutes before the end after Super Nova's Luca Filippi clouted the barriers at Turn 12 and tore most of the left-hand side off his car. The Italian was unhurt, although the combination of damage to the barriers and pools of oil on the track meant several minutes under red flags to allow for a clean-up.
Durango's debutant Stefano Coletti finally managed to complete his first laps in a GP2 car after losing this morning's session to a gearbox problem, and the Monegasque will start from the back row alongside iSport's Giedo van der Garde, whose afternoon was cut short by mechanical problems.