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Frenchman Charles Pic has clinched pole position for the Arden team ahead of Round 3 of the GP2 Asia Series in Abu Dhabi. The 19-year-old is joined on the front row by England's Oliver Turvey with the second iSport of Davide Valsecchi being pushed down to third. Jules Bianchi managed fourth for ART despite a gearbox problem.
The GP2 Asia Series returned to Abu Dhabi's Yas Marina on Thursday night following a break of three months since the first two rounds of the 8-race championship. Judging by the performances from practice at dusk, Luca Filippi's Meritus was the car to beat although the Italian will start Friday's race from 20th position after ending qualifying with a smoking car.
Valsecchi was looking strong for pole until running wide at the final corner, allowing team-mate Turvey to push him off the front row. Pic's leading time came in the shape of 1:52.497, just under half a second quicker than team-mate Javier Villa who managed sixth after being confirmed by the team at late notice.
Bianchi's effort for fourth was all the more impressive when taking into account that the F3 Euroseries Champion was suffering a gearbox problem; his ART starts ahead of American Alex Rossi's Meritus, which completes the top five. Sam Bird makes its two Britons in the top ten and edges out Edoardo Piscopo on the fourth row as Giacomo Ricci and Christian Vietoris end the day ninth and tenth.
Thursday proved disastrous for Coloni, though; Will Bratt and Alberto Valerio occupy the grid's back row - the Englishman spun during the session, missing out on the 107% cut by two seconds, whereas the Brazilian failed to enter qualifying following a crash in practice and now seeks permission from race organisers to start.
Friday's third round of the championship begins at 6pm local time (GMT +4)
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