Davide Valsecchi claimed his first GP2 Asia Series pole position in qualifying for the opening round of the season at Abu Dhabi's Yas Marina circuit.
The Italian iSport driver, who had set the pace in morning practice, improved his pace by 1.7 seconds to secure the top spot in a time of 1m51.964s.
"I am really happy because I made my first pole position ever. It's my best moment in my career," said Valsecchi. "I guess we were one or two tenths [ahead] because the car was perfect.
"I feel really confident with the team from the first time in the test to now in qualifying so I'm really happy. I have to say thank you to the team for the car."
Second quickest was British rookie Sam Bird, who managed a time 0.219sec slower than Valsecchi in his ART car.
Formula Master champion Fabio Leimer, who is also making his GP2 debut this weekend, was almost as impressive in third place, ahead of Luca Filippi, who had set the pace in testing last weekend at Yas Marina. Filippi looked to have a good chance of taking pole. His challenge ended just after half-distance, as a gear selection problem caused his Meritus car to stop at Turn 19.
Roldan Rodriguez and Rodolfo Gonzalez filled the third row for Coloni and Arden respectively, while Britain's James Jakes put his Super Nova car seventh. America's Alexander Rossi, making his GP2 debut for Thiago Monteiro's Ocean team, was 13th.
ART's Marcus Ericsson and DPR's Michael Herck, who were second and third quickest in practice, could not carry their form into qualifying. They will start the season opener 15th and 16th respectively.
Pos Driver Team Time
1. Davide Valsecchi iSport 1m51.964s
2. Sam Bird ART 1m52.183s
3. Fabio Leimer Ocean 1m52.236s
4. Luca Filippi Meritus 1m52.240s
5. Roldan Rodriguez Coloni 1m52.300s
6. Rodolfo Gonzalez Arden 1m52.436s
7. James Jakes Super Nova 1m52.529s
8. Johnny Cecotto Trident 1m52.557s
9. Josef Kral Super Nova 1m52.575s
10. Giacomo Ricci DPR 1m52.690s
11. Edoardo Piscopo DAMS 1m52.792s
12. Daniel Zampieri Piquet 1m52.816s
13. Alexander Rossi Ocean 1m52.827s
14. Christian Vietoris DAMS 1m52.792s
15. Marcus Ericsson ART 1m52.846s
16. Michael Herck DPR 1m52.869s
17. Diego Nunes Meritus 1m52.907s
18. Oliver Turvey iSport 1m52.955s
19. Luiz Razia Addax 1m52.996s
20 Charles Pic Arden 1m53.112s
21. Max Chilton Addax 1m53.147s
22. Vladimir Arabadzhiev Piquet 1m53.628s
23. William Bratt Coloni 1m53.711s
24. Plamen Kralev Trident 1m58.149s