Charles Pic claimed his first GP2 Asia pole position in the evening qualifying session for tomorrow's feature race at Yas Marina.
Championship leader Davide Valsecchi had been in front for the majority of the half hour, but Arden's Pic mounted an increasingly strong challenge in the closing stages before claiming first place with a 1m52.497s lap.
Valsecchi's iSport team-mate Oliver Turvey then jumped up to second, just 0.020 seconds behind Pic, to complete an all-rookie front row, ahead of the round one winner.
Formula 3 Euro Series champion Jules Bianchi will start his first GP2 race from fourth place for ART, having made steady gains throughout qualifying. Alexander Rossi (Meritus) and Javier Villa (Arden) fill the third row, followed by Bianchi's team-mate Sam Bird, who held a provisional top three spot early on.
Practice pacesetter Luca Filippi was in the pole fight at first in the other Meritus entry, but then stopped on track on his third lap when the team spotted smoke from the rear of the car. He subsequently tumbled right back to 20th place.
It was also a disastrous session for the Coloni team, with Alberto Valerio not getting out at all due to gearbox damage from his practice crash, and Will Bratt spinning and getting beached on a kerb in the opening minutes.
Pos Driver Team Time Gap 1. Charles Pic Arden 1m52.497s 2. Oliver Turvey iSport 1m52.517s + 0.020s 3. Davide Valsecchi iSport 1m52.603s + 0.106s 4. Jules Bianchi ART 1m52.842s + 0.345s 5. Alexander Rossi Meritus 1m52.861s + 0.364s 6. Javier Villa Arden 1m52.979s + 0.482s 7. Sam Bird ART 1m53.003s + 0.506s 8. Edoardo Piscopo DAMS 1m53.086s + 0.589s 9. Giacomo Ricci DPR 1m53.134s + 0.637s 10. Christian Vietoris DAMS 1m53.183s + 0.686s 11. Sergio Perez Addax 1m53.407s + 0.910s 12. Daniel Zampieri Rapax 1m53.491s + 0.994s 13. Giedo van der Garde Addax 1m53.509s + 1.012s 14. Fabio Leimer Ocean 1m53.611s + 1.114s 15. Josef Kral Super Nova 1m53.685s + 1.188s 16. Vladimir Arabadzhiev Rapax 1m53.687s + 1.190s 17. Dani Clos Trident 1m53.982s + 1.485s 18. Max Chilton Ocean 1m54.036s + 1.539s 19. Michael Herck DPR 1m54.074s + 1.577s 20. Luca Filippi Meritus 1m54.121s + 1.624s 21. Marcus Ericsson Super Nova 1m54.723s + 2.226s 22. Plamen Kralev Trident 1m58.274s + 5.777s 23. Will Bratt Coloni 2m02.517s + 10.020s 24. Alberto Valerio Coloni