James Calado will start from pole position in Saturday's GP2 Series feature race in Valencia after setting the fastest time in qualifying around the Spanish port-side street circuit in his Lotus GP machine.
Calado produced a phenomenal performance in the 30-minute session, putting in two laps good enough for pole position within 0.005 seconds of each other.
His strategy of running first on the soft tyre, as opposed to the super-soft, paid dividends and his opening gambit of 1m47.347s was soon followed up by a 1m47.342s lap on the same rubber.
Calado ended the session 0.007s clear of Felipe Nasr of DAMS, and even found time for a quick spin on his final run on super-softs, on which he did not improve.
Calado's team-mate Esteban Gutierrez was third quickest, a tenth off pole position, with points leader Davide Valsecchi (DAMS) fourth. Valsecchi opted to run on super-softs from the start, but his cause was not helped when the session was interrupted before it had properly begun, when Lazarus' Giancarlo Serenelli spun at Turn 8 - the corner before the bridge - and brought out the red flags just as he was starting a flier.
Valsecchi eventually produced a 1m44.458s, but his efforts to improve that on soft tyres in the closing moments were dashed by tailenders Fabrizio Crestani (Lazarus) and Rodolfo Gonzalez (Caterham) squabbling over track position, and he was forced to abort.
Giedo van der Garde will start fifth for Caterham, ahead of Carlin's Max Chilton and Racing Engineering's Fabio Leimer - both of whom set their fastest times on super-softs, which bucked the trend of the majority.
iSport duo Jolyon Palmer and Marcus Ericsson were only eighth and ninth fastest, despite impressing in practice this morning, while points runner-up Luiz Razia of Arden will start down in 11th. He suffered a lurid slide when he locked-up at Turn 1 as he tried in vain to improve.
Pos Driver Team Time Gap 1. James Calado Lotus 1m47.342s 2. Felipe Nasr DAMS 1m47.349s + 0.007s 3. Esteban Gutierrez Lotus 1m47.444s + 0.102s 4. Davide Valsecchi DAMS 1m47.458s + 0.116s 5. Giedo van der Garde Caterham 1m47.543s + 0.201s 6. Max Chilton Carlin 1m47.674s + 0.332s 7. Fabio Leimer Racing Engineering 1m47.779s + 0.437s 8. Jolyon Palmer iSport 1m47.801s + 0.459s 9. Marcus Ericsson iSport 1m47.972s + 0.630s 10. Rio Haryanto Carlin 1m47.996s + 0.654s 11. Luiz Razia Arden 1m48.155s + 0.813s 12. Tom Dillmann Rapax 1m48.176s + 0.834s 13. Stefano Coletti Coloni 1m48.222s + 0.880s 14. Stephane Richelmi Trident 1m48.288s + 0.946s 15. Johnny Cecotto Addax 1m48.390s + 1.048s 16. Nathanael Berthon Racing Engineering 1m48.518s + 1.176s 17. Simon Trummer Arden 1m48.565s + 1.223s 18. Fabio Onidi Coloni 1m48.578s + 1.236s 19. Josef Kral Addax 1m48.626s + 1.284s 20. Julian Leal Trident 1m48.641s + 1.299s 21. Fabrizio Crestani Lazarus 1m48.846s + 1.504s 22. Rodolfo Gonzalez Caterham 1m48.936s + 1.594s 23. Nigel Melker Ocean 1m49.021s + 1.679s 24. Victor Guerin Ocean 1m49.335s + 1.993s 25. Daniel de Jong Rapax 1m49.900s + 2.558s 26. Giancarlo Serenelli Lazarus