Giorgio Pantano has eked his GP2 Series lead out to a healthy 13 points after taking pole position for the latest round of the season at Hockenheim, Germany.
The Italian's second pole position of the season, the result continues Pantano's superb qualifying record this year having never started outside the top five all season.
Beating practice pace setter and qualifying favourite Romain Grosjean, Pantano surged to the top of the timesheets with ten minutes remaining after posting a lap of 1min 21.650secs, a 1.5sec improvement on his previous best.
With no rival able to get close to him for the remainder of the session, ex-Formula 1 driver Pantano was left to celebrate the fourth GP2 pole position of the career.
"Everything went very well. We understood from free practice what we needed to improve for qualifying. We did the job and I think we did a perfect lap, the car was perfect and I was almost perfect. I have to say thanks to the team as they worked hard to prepare the car for qualifying."
It was a good day all round for the Racing Engineering crew, with team-mate Javier Villa putting his recent woes behind him to go ninth on the grid, despite an engine problem in practice.
"I think that we made a step forward compared to the previous weekends. It's not the best qualifying we've done, but I think for tomorrow, starting from 9th position, we can do a good race."
Team principal Alfonso de Orleans Borbón was duly thrilled with the effort of his drivers and is now predicting a strong points haul in the races.
"Once again Giorgio has done an amazing job, the prospects are good for tomorrow. I am very happy for Javi as well, luckily the engine problem we had on his car's engine was just a loose pipe, which we solved easily for qualifying. Well done to both drivers and a great job by the whole team, but let's keep our heads cool for tomorrow's race."