Romain Grosjean grabbed pole position from Sam Bird in the final seconds of qualifying for the GP2 Asia finale at a sunny Imola.
Practice pacesetter Bird (iSport) had looked like he had the top spot for the race – which replaced the canceled Bahrain event – wrapped up after moving to the head of the order with 10 minutes to go and then improving his time to a 1m27.384sec. Grosjean seemed unlikely to find enough of a gain on his last run to beat the Briton, but the DAMS driver then produced a 1m27.067sec on his final lap to repeat his Abu Dhabi pole.
Coloni's Michael Herck took an impressive third, having held provisional pole for a while, with points leader Jules Bianchi fourth for ART.
Giedo van der Garde, who had been fastest in this morning's opening session, took fifth for Addax, with Josef Kral (Arden), Marcus Ericsson (iSport), Jolyon Palmer (Arden), Davide Valsecchi (AirAsia) and Mikhail Aleshin (Carlin) completing the top 10.