Adrian Quaife-Hobbs made it six pole positions from seven Auto GP rounds in 2012 at the final event at Sonoma.

The Super Nova driver, who wrapped up the championship last time out at Curitiba meeting, recorded a fastest time of 1m25.470s.

“Adrian predicted a 1m26.9s pole time on the sim’,” said Super Nova boss David Sears. “And he has beaten that by a long way. We are actually using a much longer circuit than that used by IndyCar, so the cars are closer to IndyCar laptimes than Indy Lights.”

The pace-setter in both of Friday’s practice sessions Russian Sergey Sirotkin was second quickest, 0.468s behind Quaife-Hobbs and the only other man to lap in the 1m25s.

Double Curitiba winner Antonio Pizzonia was third fastest on his maiden outing for Zele Racing. The ex-Formula 1 driver held the top spot with three minutes of the half-hour qualifying session left on the clocks.

But the Brazilian was usurped by first Sirotkin and, with a little over a minute remaining, by British driver Quaife-Hobbs.

Norwegian Pal Varhaug is tasked with maintaining second in the drivers’ standings from Sirotkin this weekend, and ended the morning fourth fastest for Virtuosi UK.

Marrakech winner Sergio Campana completed an all-new line-up for Zele and took fifth. The Italian was keen to erase the memories of a difficult outing for Euronova Racing in Brazil.

“I need to forget the Curitiba meeting, which was a complete nightmare for me,” said Campana. “I really love this track, so I hope to finish the season in a good way.”

Daniel de Jong joined debutant Kotaru Sakurai in being stripped of a lap time for exceeding the track limits, and wound up sixth after encountering a slow-moving Francesco Dracone on a hot lap.

Giacomo Ricci qualified seventh for his third Auto GP outing of the year, ahead of sometime GP2 racer Giancarlo Serenelli.

Britain’s Pippa Mann was 14th for what will be her first race since her huge IndyCar crash at Las Vegas Speedway a year ago. Mann only completed her seat-fitting on Wednesday, and encountered difficulty getting comfortable during Friday practice.


Bruce Johnstone Alan Jones Tom Jones Juan Jover