Oriol Servia crowned his return to the PKV Racing fold in the best way possible on the opening day of the annual Surfers Paradise round, claiming pole position and a guaranteed front row start in Friday's qualifying session.

The Spaniard, taking over the #22 Pay By Touch entry from the absent Tristan Gommendy, claimed top spot on the timesheets with the very last lap of the session, setting a new lap record in the process. However, he wound up just 0.033secs clear of local favourite Will Power, suggesting that second qualifying could be equally as tense.

Friday's session was interrupted by two red flags, with Servia lying fourth after the first incident and coming into the pits to fit a set of red Bridgestone tyres. He was able to do a few more laps to bring the rubber up to temperature before the next red came out, leaving him just two minutes and a maximum of two laps to improve his position.

"I am really happy to be on pole, really happy to give a good result to PKV," Servia smiled, "After the season I have had, I am very happy how it has turned out in the end.

"It's a great start for the weekend, I thought the car was already good in the morning, so it was all about putting the laps together. There was a red flag every time I was out there, so I couldn't do a lap [to start with].

"The first set of tires, I didn't do one lap, and it was looking like we were not going to be able to do it on the second [set] either. It was just one of those times that you have one lap and you have to do it. It was just good enough to get pole from Will. It was a one-lap shoot-out at the end. There couldn't have more drama. Now we need to finish like this on Sunday afternoon - I have been on pole before and I know it all counts on the last lap, so that is what I am going to be working on."

The Spaniard admitted that slipping back into familiar surroundings had made life easier in qualifying.

"It was a great effort from the team," he noted, "Although I just changed teams, it's the same crew I worked with last year, the same engineer, so it kind of started quite easy. The car was quite good in the morning practice, so we knew we had a good car."

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