Luiz Razia edged Luca Filippi to take pole position for the first GP2 race of the weekend at the Hungaroring - a first for both Razia and his AirAsia team.
The Brazilian was in contention for the lead places throughout the session, and he finally moved into top spot with three minutes remaining.
Filippi (Coloni), who held top spot for more than 10 minutes before that, appeared on course to respond when he set the best time in the first sector on his final flying lap. However, the Italian's charge was halted due to yellow flags after Adam Carroll spun at the chicane.
That left championship leader Romain Grosjean as the only remaining threat to Razia. But the DAMS driver's final lap was erratic as he pushed to the limit, and he could not improve on his fifth position.
Ahead of Grosjean, Marcus Ericsson (iSport) and Charles Pic (Addax) will share the second row. Ericsson popped up with five minutes remaining, while Pic was one of the only drivers to improve as the chequered flag fell.
Jules Bianchi was up next after Grosjean, but the ART driver could be in trouble with the stewards after a hot headed moment involving Julian Leal.
The Rapax driver held Bianchi up on a hot-lap in the middle of qualifying, just a couple of corners from the start/finish straight. Bianchi responded angrily, pulling alongside Leal as they both slowed and briefly swerving towards him.
The incident was picked up by the stewards, and it was confirmed that it would be investigated once the session had finished.
Giedo van der Garde's hopes of making up ground on Grosjean in the championship were not helped by him only managing seventh on the grid. The Addax driver, who had problems selecting first gear in free practice, lost several minutes in the middle of the session when he completed a very slow lap back to the pits. He did rejoin the action with seven minutes to go, but could not improve.
Rapax's Fabio Leimer will join him on the fourth row, while Esteban Gutierrez (ART) and Sam Bird (iSport) complete the top 10.
Pos Driver Team Time Gap 1. Luiz Razia AirAsia 1m30.411s 2. Luca Filippi Coloni 1m30.551s + 0.140s 3. Marcus Ericsson iSport 1m30.557s + 0.146s 4. Charles Pic Addax 1m30.742s + 0.331s 5. Romain Grosjean DAMS 1m30.746s + 0.335s 6. Jules Bianchi ART 1m30.752s + 0.341s 7. Giedo van der Garde Addax 1m30.760s + 0.349s 8. Fabio Leimer Rapax 1m30.803s + 0.392s 9. Esteban Gutierrez ART 1m30.826s + 0.415s 10. Sam Bird iSport 1m30.890s + 0.479s 11. Max Chilton Carlin 1m30.935s + 0.524s 12. Josef Kral Arden 1m30.936s + 0.525s 13. Christian Vietoris Racing Engineering 1m30.974s + 0.563s 14. Davide Valsecchi AirAsia 1m31.080s + 0.669s 15. Michael Herck Coloni 1m31.122s + 0.711s 16. Adam Carroll Super Nova 1m31.175s + 0.764s 17. Stefano Coletti Trident 1m31.229s + 0.818s 18. Daniel Clos Racing Engineering 1m31.239s + 0.828s 19. Mikhail Aleshin Carlin 1m31.312s + 0.901s 20. Pal Varhaug DAMS 1m31.396s + 0.985s 21. Jolyon Palmer Arden 1m31.513s + 1.102s 22. Kevin Mirocha Ocean 1m31.541s + 1.130s 23. Julian Leal Rapax 1m31.542s + 1.131s 24. Johnny Cecotto Jr Ocean 1m31.578s + 1.167s 25. Fairuz Fauzy Super Nova 1m31.755s + 1.344s 26. Rodolfo Gonzalez Trident 1m31.779s + 1.368s