Alain Menu secured his third pole position in successive qualifying sessions as he topped the times ahead of rounds 21 and 22 of the World Touring Car Championship from Shanghai.
Click here for the full qualifying results.
The Chevrolet driver beat team-mate and Championship rival Yvan Muller by 0.026s to secure his fourth pole of the season. Tom Coronel in the ROAL Motorsport BMW 320TC will start the second race from pole.
Four out of the top five in Q2 were Chevrolet drivers, with the third title contender Rob Huff finishing fourth and the returning Colin Turkington fifth. Splitting the Chevrolet drivers’ is the Yokohama Independents’ points leader Norbert Michelisz, who finished third fastest.
The rest of the top ten was made up by Japan race winner Stefano D’Aste, Pepe Oriola, Alex MacDowall, Gabriele Tarquini and Tom Coronel. Aleksey Dudukalo and Fredy Barth completed the top 12, Barth making his return to the series this weekend.
After securing a brace of top ten finishes last time out at Suzuka, Tiago Monteiro in the JAS Motorsport Honda Civic could only finish 17th fastest.
James Nash finished as the top Ford driver in 15th while team-mate Tom Chilton lines up 22nd on the grid, ahead of series debutant Hugo Valente.
Finishing the session as the top naturally aspirated runner was Eric Kwong in the Chevrolet Cruze, Kwong was the final driver to lap the circuit in less than 2 minutes.
Round 21 of the 2012 World Touring Car Championship from the Shanghai International Circuit takes place at 14.50 local time, 6.50am GMT/7.50 CET, and is live on Eurosport.