Jolyon Palmer will start from pole position in Friday's Monaco GP2 feature race for the DAMS squad after setting the fastest time in the quickest of the qualifying sessions.
Split into two 16-minute periods, Group A for odd-numbered cars and Group B for evens, it was the first session that proved most competitive in terms of strength in depth and, most importantly, being the faster it gave Palmer pole position.
Palmer, who was investigated but exonerated for overtaking under yellows in practice, left his run until the closing five minutes of the opening session. His first attempt was a 1m20.774s, which he followed up with a 1m20.969s - either of which were good enough for pole.
In the slower Group B session, Caterham's Rio Haryanto just shaded Palmer's team-mate Stephane Richelmi by 0.011 seconds.
That means Haryanto will start from P2, with Richelmi in P4.
NEWS UPDATE: Haryanto among blocking penalties
Mitch Evans's late flyer in Group A for Russian Time gave him third on the grid, and demoted Johnny Cecotto Jr (who complained he was held up by Daniel Abt) to fifth.
Bahrain winner Stoffel Vandoorne will start sixth for ART.
It was a disastrous day for Felipe Nasr, the Barcelona sprint race winner only qualifying on row eight for Carlin after crashing in morning practice.
Pos Driver Team Time Group
1. Jolyon Palmer DAMS 1m20.774s Group A
2. Rio Haryanto Caterham 1m21.433s Group B
3. Mitch Evans Russian Time 1m21.188s Group A
4. Stephane Richelmi DAMS 1m21.444s Group B
5. Johnny Cecotto Jr Trident 1m21.361s Group A
6. Stoffel Vandoorne ART 1m21.508s Group B
7. Daniel Abt Hilmer 1m21.760s Group A
8. Stefano Coletti Racing Engineering 1m21.649s Group B
9. Raffaele Marciello Racing Engineering 1m21.917s Group A
10. Julian Leal Carlin 1m21.752s Group B
11. Alexander Rossi Caterham 1m22.146s Group A
12. Sergio Canamasas Trident 1m21.926s Group B
13. Simon Trummer Rapax 1m22.296s Group A
14. Arthur Pic Campos 1m22.207s Group B
15. Felipe Nasr Carlin 1m22.381s Group A
16. Rene Binder Arden 1m22.270s Group B
17. Kimiya Sato Campos 1m22.588s Group A
18. Adrian Quaife-Hobbs Rapax 1m22.277s Group B
19. Tio Ellinas MP 1m22.681s Group A
20. Facu Regalia Hilmer 1m22.473s Group B
21. Conor Daly Lazarus 1m22.997s Group A
22. Daniel de Jong MP 1m22.488s Group B
23. Andre Negrao Arden 1m23.178s Group A
24. Nathanael Berthon Lazarus 1m22.632s Group B
25. Takuya Izawa ART 1m23.259s Group A
26. Artem Markelov Russian Time 1m23.347s Group B