Silverstone Auto GP: Karthikeyan takes pole on Super Nova debut
Super Nova new recruit Narain Karthikeyan took his maiden Auto GP pole position at Silverstone
The former grand prix driver set the fastest time in Friday's two free practice sessions, and carried his pace into the afternoon's half-hour qualifying session.
The Indian initially had to settle for second on the timing screens behind team-mate Vittorio Ghirelli.
But the Hungaroring victor's challenge was cut short when he stopped at Turn 9 when holding a 0.3-second advantage over his high-profile team-mate.
Karthikeyan usurped Ghirelli for first just after the mid-way point of the session, but both men were demoted a place when Auto GP newcomer Kevin Giovesi grabbed provisional pole with eight minutes remaining.
The reigning European Formula 3 Open Cup champion, who is also racing for Lazurus in GP2, only had a brief tenure at the top.
Karthikeyan responded to recover his position two minutes later thanks to a pole-winning lap of 1m46.286s.
A red flag caused by Tamas Pal Kiss stopping near Silverstone's pits straight disrupted attempts by rivals to improve on Karthikeyan's effort. Kiss is making his second Auto GP start of the year in the seat vacated by Karthikeyan at Zele Racing.
Ghirelli's early lap netted the Formula Renault 3.5 graduate third, and he will be joined on the second row of the grid for Saturday's opening race by Kiss.
Virtuosi UK's Andrea Roda will start fifth, ahead of championship leader Kimiya Sato. After a troubled afternoon in which he missed free practice two because of an engine change, Sato's early-season title rival Sergio Campana could only manage 12th position.
Series returnee Fabrizio Crestani suffered from gearbox problems in free practice and was forced to settle for 14th.
The classification was propped up Francesco Dracone, who received a black and orange flag during the session for a damaged front wing.
Auto GP Silverstone: Ex-F1 racer Narain Karthikeyan sets pace
Silverstone Auto GP: Giovesi beats Karthikeyan for debut win