Romain Grosjean will start on pole position for the opening GP2 Asia round in Abu Dhabi after a commanding performance in qualifying at Yas Marina.
The ex-Formula 1 driver was in front for the majority of the late-afternoon session, putting in an unbeatable early 1m36.212s effort on a shorter version of the circuit than that usually used by F1 and GP2. Grosjean then cemented his and the DAMS team's pole by improving to 1m36.041s late on.
ART's Jules Bianchi will start second, 0.407 seconds slower than his fellow F1 reserve.
AirAsia got its GP2 career off to a great start as reigning GP2 Asia champion Davide Valsecchi put its lead car third on the grid, alongside Racing Engineering's Dani Clos.
Giedo van der Garde (Addax) made a late jump to fifth, demoting iSport's Marcus Ericsson.
Carlin, the other new team in the field, also began impressively as Max Chilton showed his best GP2 form yet to qualify seventh.
Practice pacesetter Josef Kral (Arden), top rookie Esteban Gutierrez (ART) and Racing Engineering's Nathanael Berthon completed the top 10, while Sam Bird will be disappointed with 11th in the other iSport car.
Pos Driver Team Time Gap 1. Romain Grosjean DAMS 1m36.041s 2. Jules Bianchi ART 1m36.448s + 0.407s 3. Davide Valsecchi AirAsia 1m36.501s + 0.460s 4. Dani Clos Racing Engineering 1m36.614s + 0.573s 5. Giedo van der Garde Addax 1m36.658s + 0.617s 6. Marcus Ericsson iSport 1m36.659s + 0.618s 7. Max Chilton Carlin 1m36.693s + 0.652s 8. Josef Kral Arden 1m36.724s + 0.683s 9. Esteban Gutierrez ART 1m36.741s + 0.700s 10. Nathanael Berthon Racing Engineering 1m36.825s + 0.784s 11. Sam Bird iSport 1m36.830s + 0.789s 12. Michael Herck Coloni 1m36.863s + 0.822s 13. Oliver Turvey Ocean 1m36.875s + 0.834s 14. Charles Pic Addax 1m36.961s + 0.920s 15. Fabio Leimer Rapax 1m37.047s + 1.006s 16. Johnny Cecotto Super Nova 1m37.129s + 1.088s 17. Julian Leal Rapax 1m37.145s + 1.104s 18. Jolyon Palmer Arden 1m37.305s + 1.264s 19. Stefano Coletti Trident 1m37.329s + 1.288s 20. Andrea Caldarelli Ocean 1m37.345s + 1.304s 21. Luiz Razia AirAsia 1m37.426s + 1.385s 22. Mikhail Aleshin Carlin 1m37.535s + 1.494s 23. Fairuz Fauzy Super Nova 1m37.572s + 1.531s 24. Pal Varhaug DAMS 1m37.632s + 1.591s 25. Rodolfo Gonzalez Trident 1m37.669s + 1.628s 26. James Jakes Coloni 1m37.741s + 1.700s