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Rosberg Responds with Pole

Nico Rosberg has set the fastest time in second qualifying to take pole for this afternoon's first race at the Bahrain International Circuit. He will be joined by Championship rival Heikki Kovalainen on the front row.

With almost all of the drivers improving their laptimes in the second session, Rosberg claimed the top spot with a lap of 1:44.643, just 0.675 ahead of Kovalainen, who lines up ahead of teammate Nicolas Lapierre and Giorgio Pantano.

There was heartbreak for Neel Jani, however: he came to Bahrain with a new car as a result of his huge crash in race two at Spa, but the Swiss driver was unable to get out on track in the second session and may have to sit out the races after failing to set a lap time.

Nelson Piquet Jr was the first man on track and immediately made up for his lack of running in the first session by putting in the fifth fastest time just before Ernesto Viso staking his claim by running fastest overall.

The session then became a battle between Arden and ART - Lapierre took provisional pole, with Kovalainen failing to get ahead after losing time to a weaving Can Artam at the back of the circuit.

With ten minutes to go Rosberg annexed pole with a lap time that was never bettered, setting up a title challenge that everyone was relishing before the start of the session - both rivals will lead the remainder of the grid away when the lights go out this afternoon in race one.

Pos  Driver      Team                Q1        Q2       Gap      Laps
 1.  Rosberg     ART Grand Prix      1:46.526  1:44.643           20
 2.  Kovalainen  Arden               1:46.205  1:45.318 + 0.675   18
 3.  Lapierre    Arden               1:47.308  1:45.532 + 0.889   21
 4.  Pantano     Super Nova          1:47.621  1:45.541 + 0.898   23
 5.  Premat      ART Grand Prix      1:47.900  1:45.581 + 0.938   19
 6.  Viso        BCN Competicion     1:47.572  1:45.713 + 1.070   21
 7.  Piquet Jr.  Hitech Piquet                 1:45.734 + 1.091   17
 8.  Speed       iSport              1:46.685  1:45.790 + 1.147   27
 9.  Monfardini  Coloni Motorsport   1:48.022  1:45.958 + 1.315   23
10.  Bruni       Durango             1:46.919  1:45.967 + 1.324   20
11.  Carroll     Super Nova          1:47.149  1:46.029 + 1.386   23
12.  Lopez       DAMS                1:47.754  1:46.031 + 1.388   23
13.  Garcia      Racing Engineering  1:47.930  1:46.254 + 1.611   20
14.  Piccione    Durango             1:47.731  1:46.466 + 1.823   22
15.  Alvarez     Campos Racing       1:47.858  1:46.634 + 1.991   23
16.  Yoshimoto   BCN Competicion     1:48.417  1:46.847 + 2.204   18
17.  Pla         DPR                 1:48.916  1:47.072 + 2.429   19
18.  Mondini     DPR                 1:48.333  1:47.101 + 2.458   21
19.  Hernandez   Campos Racing       1:48.339  1:47.125 + 2.482   18
20.  Fauzy       DAMS                1:48.868  1:47.259 + 2.616   23
21.  Lauda       Coloni Motorsport   1:48.732  1:47.555 + 2.912   24
22.  Artam       iSport              1:48.794  1:47.885 + 3.242   16
23.  Negrao      Hitech Piquet       1:49.044           + 4.401    9
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