McLaren's Kimi Raikkonen claimed pole position for Sunday's inaugural Turkish Grand Prix as the new track in Istanbul caught out several drivers on Saturday.
LEADING GRID POSITIONS
1 K Raikkonen 1:26.797
2 G Fisichella 1:27.039
3 F Alonso 1:27.050
4 JP Montoya 1:27.352
5 J Trulli 1:27.501
6 N Heidfeld 1:27.929
He set a best lap of one minute 26.797 seconds to edge Renault duo Giancarlo Fisichella and championship leader Fernando Alonso into second and third.
McLaren's Juan Pablo Montoya was fourth while Ferrari's Michael Schumacher did not complete his lap and starts 16th.
Red Bull's David Coulthard was 12th and BAR's Jenson Button finished 13th.
Toyota's Jarno Trulli was fifth, ahead of the Williams pair of Nick Heidfeld and Mark Webber.
"Coming into the last part I ran a little bit wide and locked the rear end, so I lost some time but I knew I was quick enough on the first part," said Raikkonen.
"Yesterday was not perfect but overnight we changed the car and straight away it was good, and I did a good lap time before the qualifying so we were quite confident.
"But on new circuits you never know really how qualifying is going to be because it's quite dusty. I'm very happy with the car and how things have gone."
Alonso, who leads the championship by 26 points with six races remaining, recovered from the handicap of starting relatively early in qualifying to claim a second-row start.
"I think tomorrow we have a good chance to be on the podium and hopefully fighting for the win," said the Spaniard, who failed to earn a point in Hungary three weeks ago.
"The car is competitive here as you saw. I am happy to be third, it is the clean side of the grid so we should have a better start and hopefully we can go through the first corner, not like Hungary, where we lost the nose.
"We are in a perfect position to achieve a good result."
The new 5.3km Istanbul Otodrom - one of only three circuits on the Formula One calendar which run anticlockwise - caught out numerous drivers.
Both world champion Michael Schumacher and his brother Ralf in the Toyota went off the track.
"I can't say exactly the reason," said Michael, who was later moved back from 16th to 19th on the grid after Ferrari opted to change his engine.
Sauber's Jacques Villeneuve also spun off and failed to finish.
And BAR's Button looked in good shape before a mistake at turn eight cost him dear, leaving him down in 13th.
"I can't blame anyone, it's my fault, my mistake," said Button. "I don't think there's any excuse."
He added: "I was very surprised, I was going quite a bit slower than in practice through there because I'd seen already what had happened."
Meanwhile, Button's BAR team-mate Takuma Sato had his qualifying time deleted by race officials after cruising round on his slowing-down lap and holding up Webber.
The Williams driver lost time as a consequence and finished in seventh, with Sato originally in 14th.
"He did a very slow lap, then an even slower in-lap, which compromised my qualifying but that's how it goes," said Australian Webber.
Sato will now start from the back of the grid.
Full qualifying result from the Turkish Grand Prix:
1. Kimi Raikkonen (Fin) McLaren-Mercedes 1:L26.797
2 Giancarlo Fisichella (Ita) Renault 1:27.039
3. Fernando Alonso (Spa) Renault 1:27.050
4. Juan Pablo Montoya (Col) McLaren-Mercedes 1:27.352
5. Jarno Trulli (Ita) Toyota 1:27.501
6. Nick Heidfeld (Ger) Williams-BMW 1:27.929
7. Mark Webber (Aus) Williams-BMW 1:27.944
8. Felipe Massa (Bra) Sauber-Petronas 1:28.419
9. Ralf Schumacher (Ger) Toyota 1:28.594
10. Christian Klien (Aut) Red Bull-Cosworth 1:28.963
11. Rubens Barrichello (Bra) Ferrari 1:29.369
12. David Coulthard (Sco) Red Bull-Cosworth 1:29.764
13. Jenson Button (GB) BAR-Honda 1:30.063
14. Tiego Monteiro (Por) Jordan-Toyota 1:30.710
15. Christijan Albers (Ned) Minardi-Cosworth 1:32.186
16. Jacques Villeneuve (Can) Sauber-Petronas, no time
17. Narain Karthikeyan (Ind) Jordan-Toyota, no time
18. Robert Doornbos (Ned) Minardi-Cosworth, no time
19. Michael Schumacher (Ger) Ferrari, no time + engine change
20. Takuma Sato (Jap) BAR-Honda time deleted