Felix Rosenqvist stormed to pole position by a massive six-tenths of a second ahead of Sam Bird in a bizarre qualifying session in Rome.
The Swedish driver hit the wall in Turn 12 but was still able to attack the lap. He was eight tenths up on Bird’s time in sector two but lost two tenths in the final sector to set a 1:36:311.
Rosenqvist takes three points off Vergne’s championship lead with pole position, which means Vergne now has a 27 point advantage in the driver’s championship.
The session was littered with bizarre incidents. Antonio Felix Da Costa and Jose Maria Lopez crashed in the pitlane. Lopez exited the pits, and Da Costa was released into the path of Lopez when he was passing the Andretti garage.
Both cars suffered suspension damage and were unable to take to the track for qualifying and will start on the back row of the grid.
Also, Luca Filippi and Jerome D’Ambrosio failed to do a 200kW lap during the first group of qualifying. They will start ahead of Lopez and Da Costa.
Mitch Evans will start the race from third place after making it into Super Pole, but the Kiwi locked up at Turn 9 and cost the Jaguar Racing driver a shot at pole.
Andre Lotterer will line up fourth. The German looked an unlikely candidate for Super Pole until a blistering final sector saw the German end the group stages fastest.
Sebastien Buemi made an error at Turn 9 after missing his braking point and running wide and will start from fifth place.
Lucas di Grassi will start sixth after being pipped to Super Pole by Lotterer’s fantastic effort in the group stages to end fastest.
Oliver Turvey will start seventh ahead of championship leader Jean-Eric Vergne who will start in eighth place.
Daniel Abt’s effort in qualifying was only good enough for a ninth place start, ahead of Nick Heidfeld who rounds out the top ten.