Vitaly Petrov will start tomorrow's GP2 Series feature race from pole position after emerging on top from a close-fought qualifying session at the Algarve circuit in Portugal.
The Russian reeled off a 1m30.819s effort with three minutes remaining to knock Barwa Addax team-mate Davide Valsecchi off the top spot, and then survived an unexpected scare in the final moments when Racing Engineering rookie Dani Clos matched him over the first two sectors but fell just short in the third. Clos missed out by a scant 0.04sec, but a front row start is still an outstanding result from the Spaniard.
Champion Nico Hulkenberg (ART) had to settle for third alongside Clos' teammate Lucas di Grassi, who had led the field through the middle of the session but was bogged down in traffic towards the end.
Valsecchi finished fifth, just ahead of Piquet's Roldan Rodriguez, with his teammate Alberto Valerio and ART's Pastor Maldonado rounding out the top eight.
Fortune was less kind to Ocean Racing Technology's Alvaro Parente, who will start his home race from the back of the grid after a gearbox problem prevented him from completing a flying lap.