Neel Jani drove Switzerland another step closer to the World Cup of Motorsport laurels by sealing pole position for the sprint race in Shanghai this weekend, almost half a second clear of any of his rivals.

The 24-year-old may not have competed at the circuit before - countrymen Giorgio Mondini and S?bastien Buemi respectively taking his place during A1GP's first two seasons - he did not let it show, as he set the quickest lap in the closing moments of the second 15-minute qualifying session to see off the challenge of the impressive Filipe Albuquerque - fastest in Q1 - behind the wheel of the Portugese entry to guarantee the top spot.

Even better for the championship leader was the fact that chief rivals New Zealand (fifth with Jonny Reid), Germany (ninth with Michael Ammerm?ller), Great Britain (tenth with Robbie Kerr), South Africa (eleventh with Adrian Zaugg) and, most prominently of all France (a disastrous 18th in the hands of series newcomer and practice pace-setter Franck Montagny), all languished some way further down the order.

In the expected front-runners' place came Canada up in third, despite Robert Wickens only arriving in China the previous day following prior testing commitments in Europe. Narain Karthikeyan - clearly a fan of the country following his breakthrough Zhuhai success at the end of last year - took a strong fourth position and the USA's Jonathan Summerton, a podium finisher last time out in Mexico, sixth. Malaysia's Alex Yoong and Northern Irishman Adam Carroll will begin the shorter outing from the fourth row.

To see the sprint race qualifying times in full, click here



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