Roldan Rodriguez was delighted to kick off the new GP2 Asia season with a maiden pole position around the Shanghai International Circuit in China.

A surprise given the dominance of Kamui Kobayashi throughout testing, it comes in Rodriguez's first event back with the Piquet Sports outfit, the team he raced for in 2007.

Edging the Japanese driver with his final effort, Rodriguez was thrilled to assume an early advantage, not least because it comes after a mediocre season with FMS in the 2008 main series.

"It couldn't be better. It's perfect! Pole position at the last minute is the best way to start the season. I started on old tyres and did only half a lap before the red flag. Then, on new tyres, I couldn't do a proper lap.

"I was fifth when the second red flag happened and all I had left was one last lap to improve... I went for it and it worked! Tomorrow, I'll have no one in front: I'll just push and I won't think about what's going on behind."