Giedo van der Garde had the honour of being the best of the rookie contingent in qualifying as the GP2 Asia Series kicked off in China.

Fresh from his World Series by Renault title win two weeks ago, van der Garde has been consistently quick in testing with the iSport machine, a trend he continued in qualifying around the Shanghai International Circuit.

Qualifying fifth on the grid, the Dutchman is confident of a good haul of points ahead of his race debut with the British based team.

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"I was happy enough with my performance. We are in touch with the leading group and I think we'll be in good shape tomorrow."

Qualifying was a more eventful affair for team-mate Hamad Al Fardan, who caused a red flag when he spun in the middle of the circuit. Nonetheless, the Bahraini driver has made impressive strides this weekend and was still good enough to secure a modest 14th on his debut.

"I was pleased with my first run, because I'm racing against drivers with a lot more experience and a top ten start would have been very satisfactory. Unfortunately, I was caught out on cold tyres as I began my second run. It was only a small mistake, but I paid a heavy price. I hope to make amends in the race tomorrow."