Meritus' GP2 veteran Luca Filippi snatched pole position in the final qualifying session of the 2009-10 Asia Series at Sakhir, after clocking a lap of 2min 07.087secs in front of the F1 fraternity.
The Italian stole Charles Pic's thunder in the dying minutes of the session, bettering the Arden racer - and Bahrain racewinner's - time by 0.091secs, pocketing two points to bolster his season's tally and move up to third in the standings.
"I am very happy because we really wanted this pole position and finally we've got a clear qualifying," Filippi commented, "Last time, I lost the pole by half a tenth and, this time, I managed to have a really good lap. I am very happy because the team is from Bahrain and this is an important result for them.
"I'm also happy because we didn't use the tyres too much, so we will have good tyres for tomorrow. It is going to be very tough because the race is very long and everybody will struggle a bit with the rear tyres.
"The car was fast - and I love this car! It really fits my driving style and, every time I jump in this car, I find a perfect feeling in every condition. It's my third pole position in this car, but it feels incredible. I'm in love with this car. I won't be able to take one home with me, but I will take home the memories."
Filippi's two bonus points moves him ahead of iSport's Oliver Turvey in the drivers' standings, and inched him closer to countryman Giacomo Ricci, who currently occupies a surprising second place after a strong winter with DPR.
"It's going to be really tough because Giacomo has been very consistent in the last two rounds and he always managed to score points," Filippi reasoned, "So, even if he didn't qualify too well today, he can still finish in the top eight tomorrow and score in both races. I will do my best first of all to get the podium at least - it is important for this team because they deserve a great result."
Ricci was in the early mix for pole In the early stages, but he and fellow pacesetter Alexander Rossi soon fell behind, first, Filippi and then Javi Villa. However, it was Pic who claimed top spot before mid-session ahead of his team-mate, with Filippi, Turvey and series champion Davide Valsecchi next up. Coloni's Alvaro Parente tried his best to finish the session on top but, in common with his rivals, failed to find the perfect lap to better those at the top of the order.
Pic clung onto what could have been his second pole position this season for as long as he could, but Filippi improved a couple of minutes before the chequered flag, leaving the Frenchman, iSport duo Turvey and Valsecchi and Parente to push hard on their last flying lap without reward.
"Of course, it's a shame because we lost pole position in the last few minutes, but second place is still a good result for us," Pic insisted, "It's a good position for the start tomorrow, and now we have to focus on that. The team has made a good car and I have also improved my driving compared to free practice. It will be hard - we have to be careful with degradation and because the track conditions will change - so we are thinking about the set-up for tomorrow."
Behind the top five, Villa finished ahead Jules Bianchi, Luiz Razia and Ricci, while Rossi completes the top ten.