Auto GP points leader Kimiya Sato claimed his first pole position in the series in Red Bull Ring qualifying.
The Euronova driver topped the Q1 times on a 1m20.920s and then came out ahead in a battle with championship rival Kevin Giovesi in the Q2 session for the fastest 10 cars to take his maiden pole in his second season in Auto GP.
Sato and FMS Racing driver Giovesi traded times in Q2 before the Japanese driver secured pole with a 1m20.515s lap.
He subsequently went quicker still with a 1m20.563s, while Giovesi fell to fourth behind Virtuosi driver Tamas Pal Kiss and Sato's team-mate Shinya Michimi.
Sato's best lap put him nearly three tenths up on Kiss, who is racing for the first time with Virtuosi after starting the year with Zele Racing, and a further two tenths up on Michimi.
"Last year we struggled with qualifying pace, but we have been slowly improving this year," Sato told AUTOSPORT.
"Everything finally came together this weekend and we got the pole, which is important here because we have seen a lot of incidents at the first corner in Formula 1 and GP2."
Andrea Roda claimed fifth place in the second Virtuosi entry with a time just half a tenth behind Giovesi.
Michela Cerruti, a winner last time out at Imola, was sixth but more than a second from pole. Her title-chasing Super Nova team-mate Markus Pommer failed to set a time in Q2 due to an engine sensor problem.
Pos Driver Team Time Gap 1. Kimiya Sato Euronova 1m20.363s 2. Tamas Pal Kiss Virtuosi UK 1m20.641s +0.278s 3. Shinya Michimi Euronova 1m20.852s +0.489s 4. Kevin Giovesi FMS 1m20.865s +0.502s 5. Andrea Roda Virtuosi UK 1m20.910s +0.547s 6. Michela Cerruti Super Nova 1m21.513s +1.150s 7. Giuseppe Cipriani Ibiza 1m22.105s +1.742s 8. Christof von Grunigen Zele 1m22.408s +2.045s 9. Michele La Rosa MLR 71/Euronova 1m22.774s +2.411s 10. Markus Pommer Super Nova 11. Salvatore de Plano FMS 1m25.210s Q1