Adrian Quaife-Hobbs moved a step closer to wrapping up the Auto GP title with pole position at Curitiba.

It is the fifth time the Kent driver has topped qualifying in six sessions this season. He led this session from early on, but Chris van der Drift challenged him and finished up second, 0.136 seconds behind.

Despite being new to the series, former Formula 1 driver Antonio Pizzonia had finished second to Quaife-Hobbs in both of the earlier practice sessions, but would ultimately have to settle for third in qualifying.

Quaife-Hobb's nearest rival in the championship Pal Varhaug will start fourth, while Sergey Sirotkin was fifth after missing FP2 due to a gearbox problem. Fellow Russian Max Snegirev will join him on the third row.

Pizzonia's fellow Ombra Racing driver, Brazilian and debutant Rafael Suzuki was seventh, ahead of Daniel De Jong – who stopped on track and brought out the red flags.

Having scored an extra point for pole position, Quaife-Hobbs just needs to score no more than five fewer points than Varhaug in Saturday's race to claim the title.

“We did really a good job, and we could have been quicker,” said Quaife-Hobbs. “My quickest lap was spoilt by the red flag, and even in the pole lap, the 1:12.0 one, I've been slowed down by cars that were entering the pits just ahead of me.

“The balance of the car changed slightly compared to the Free Practices because of the lower track temperature, but it was really a tiny balance shift and we were quick anyway. For tomorrow I have great expectations because I have the confidence to push straight away, while I don't know about the others. We'll see, but I'm really confident.”