Beijing: Two of motorsports` most famous names start the first ever Formula E race for electric cars at opposite ends of the grid in Beijing Saturday, with Nicolas Prost taking pole position in Beijing and Bruno Senna second from last.
Frenchman Prost, the son of four-time F1 champion Alain, went some way to meeting the heavy expectations on his shoulders by clocking the best lap on the 3.453-kilometre circuit with a time of one minute 42.200 seconds.
But Senna, the nephew of Ayrton Senna, suffered a miserable afternoon after his car failed to start in qualifying, meaning he was to begin the race in 19th position.
Prost was more than a tenth of a second ahead of second-placed Brazilian Lucas Di Grassi, whose fastest lap was one minute 42.306.
Di Grassi`s teammate at Audi Sport ABT, Daniel Abt, will be third on the grid after he clocked one minute 42.454 seconds.
Prost, 33, who races for the E.Dams Renault team co-founded by his father, crashed into the barriers on one of his four laps, but said there was no damage to his car.
He felt "fantastic" with his qualifying, he said, in his first street race since 2005.
"To be honest I was a bit worried, but in the end it turned out OK," he added.
"I was very disappointed with myself because my first lap was obviously very good but my second lap I was flying, I was much quicker, and I messed it up, so I was a bit disappointed with myself but in the end it was enough and it feels just great."
Prost compared the track to an American street circuit, while di Grassi said it was challenging given that "each corner has its own peculiarity".
"The tarmac changes in the middle of the corner, there is a crossing for pedestrians that changes the grid, and many other things, so each corner is actually very different, so that complexity during these laps makes it very difficult to race."
The first-ever Formula E race takes place in the shadow of the Bird`s Nest stadium in the Chinese capital.
The series will see 10 races on different street circuits around the world involving 20 drivers from 10 different teams, with British tycoon Branson and Hollywood actor Leonardo DiCaprio backing one team each.
While Senna did not take part in qualifying because of a "battery issue" with his car, an official at his team, Mahindra Racing, told AFP that he would be racing.
Nelson Piquet Junior, also the son of a former motor sport great, will start the race in 10th spot.