Ferrari's Felipe Massa took pole position for Sunday's Brazilian Grand Prix at the Interlagos circuit in qualifying on Saturday while championship leader Lewis Hamilton starts from fourth on the grid.
Massa registered a time of 1 minute 12.368 seconds for the 4.309- kilometre circuit to claim a third pole in succession at his home GP while Toyota's Jarno Trulli caused a major surprise by taking the second spot on the front row in 1:12.737 minutes.
Defending champion Kimi Raikkonen snatched third in the second Ferrari with Hamilton of McLaren-Mercedes a disappointing fourth, nearly half a second slower than Massa.
Hamilton holds a seven-point lead over Massa going into Sunday's final race of the 2008 Formula One season and needs a fifth place finish to ensure he goes into the record books as the youngest ever F1 champion at the age of 23.
Massa, who celebrated the sixth pole of the season in front of tens of thousands of adoring fans, requires a win or second spot, and must also rely on his rival finishing outside the top five, to become the first Brazilian since Ayrton Senna in 1991 to take the title.
"It's always a good start to be in front," said Massa, winner at Interlagos in 2006 and second last year. "I will do my best tomorrow to win the race and that will be the important thing."
Massa said it was a "dream come true" to once again start from pole in his native Brazil.
"It's difficult to express my feelings. The fans are simply unbelievable, it's great," said the 27-year-old. "It's an advantage to start from the front."
Heikki Kovalainen qualified in fifth behind teammate Hamilton with Renault's Fernando Alonso sixth.
Mercedes motorsport boss said Hamilton's fourth-place was a good position.
"It's a good starting point for Lewis on the second row and Heikki on row three," he said. "We'll see what strategies everyone takes but I think ours is good and so is our speed."
Sebastian Vettel continued his strong form for Toro Rosso, qualifying in seventh spot head of fellow German Nick Heidfeld in a BMW-Sauber while Sebastien Bourdais in the second Toro Rosso and Timo Glock, of Toyota completed the top 10 places.