Charles Pic came out on top of a three-way fight to take pole position for the first GP2 race of the weekend at the Nurburgring.
The Addax driver, who moved to the top of the times with just four minutes remaining, robbed series veteran Luca Filippi of the top spot for his 100th start in the main series. But Filippi, who waited longer than the rest of his rivals before emerging from the pits on his second set of tires five minutes from the end, attacked with a faster lap in the final minute. The Italian managed to improve his time, but not his position and will start second in his first race back at Coloni.
Pic could be forgiven for feeling a slight sense of justice, though, as two of his impressive-looking laps in the early stages of qualifying were ruined by traffic in the final sector.
Behind them, Romain Grosjean (DAMS) had to settle for third after a sequence of laps where he was clearly on the ragged edge more than usual. He will share the second row with countryman Jules Bianchi, although the ART driver was more than three tenths adrift of the top three.
Giedo van der Garde bounced back from a free practice session curtailed by throttle problems to put the second Addax car in the top five, just fractions ahead of Fabio Leimer, Alvaro Parente and Esteban Gutierrez.
Marcus Ericsson and Luiz Razia completed the top 10, followed by title contender Sam Bird, who had to settle for 11th. The Briton had a disrupted session, as he had hot laps ruined either by traffic or small errors of his own which prevented him from stringing together the sort of lap time his best sectors suggested he was capable of.