Romain Grosjean overcame a 360-degree spin in Istanbul Park's famous Turn 8 to take pole position for the GP2 opener in Turkey.
The DAMS driver engaged in a head-to-head battle for supremacy with Jules Bianchi (ART) in the first half of the session. The French pair exchanged places at the top of the times on several occasions, until Bianchi had to abandon his latest response when Davide Valsecchi stopped on track and brought out the red flags.
After the session was restarted, the French fight for pole was intercepted by Sam Bird and Luca Filippi. The Italian went second fastest with what was his first flying lap after he had spun at the start of the session, while Bird took the place from him a couple of minutes later.
Grosjean went back out in the final minutes in a bid to extend his narrow margin over the Briton, but he lost the rear of the car in Turn 8 and had a high-speed, 360-degree spin without leaving the track. Bianchi was unable to improve and had to settle for fourth behind Bird and Filippi, while Dani Clos and Luiz Razia completed the third row after both put in solid performances all session.
Charles Pic got himself up to seventh late on, putting him just ahead of Valsecchi. The Italian's on-track stoppage to bring out the red flags was far from straightforward, as he then rolled backward down the track for quite a distance before restarting just as the red flags came out.
The session was stopped twice more, both times for nasty looking accidents at the end of the back straight. First Mikhail Aleshin locked up and then careered into the barriers at high speed, and Michael Herck then did the same in the final seconds of the session.
Pos Driver Team Time Gap
1. Romain Grosjean DAMS 1m34.398s
2. Sam Bird iSport 1m34.483s + 0.085s
3. Luca Filippi Super Nova 1m34.709s + 0.311s
4. Jules Bianchi ART 1m34.784s + 0.386s
5. Dani Clos Racing Engineering 1m34.797s + 0.399s
6. Luiz Razia AirAsia 1m34.888s + 0.490s
7. Charles Pic Addax 1m34.954s + 0.556s
8. Davide Valsecchi AirAsia 1m34.975s + 0.577s
9. Christian Vietoris Racing Engineering 1m34.981s + 0.583s
10. Josef Kral Arden 1m35.050s + 0.652s
11. Max Chilton Carlin 1m35.110s + 0.712s
12. Giedo van der Garde Addax 1m35.140s + 0.742s
13. Jolyon Palmer Arden 1m35.159s + 0.761s
14. Fabio Leimer Rapax 1m35.164s + 0.766s
15. Stefano Coletti Trident 1m35.182s + 0.784s
16. Johnny Cecotto Jr Ocean 1m35.360s + 0.962s
17. Davide Rigon Coloni 1m35.369s + 0.971s
18. Marcus Ericsson iSport 1m35.375s + 0.977s
19. Fairuz Fauzy Super Nova 1m35.428s + 1.030s
20. Michael Herck Coloni 1m35.545s + 1.147s
21. Pal Varhaug DAMS 1m35.681s + 1.283s
22. Kevin Mirocha Ocean 1m35.825s + 1.427s
23. Mikhail Aleshin Carlin 1m35.873s + 1.475s
24. Esteban Gutierrez ART 1m35.973s + 1.575s
25. Julian Leal Rapax 1m36.168s + 1.770s
26. Rodolfo Gonzalez Trident 1m36.187s + 1.789s