The Swiss racer claimed his fourth pole of the season as he topped the timesheets in 1:54.383 with another convincing drive.
Norbert Michelisz created a surprise by posting the third fastest lap in his BMW, which demoted championship co-leader Rob Huff to fourth.
Colin Turkington put in a solid performance as he qualified fifth on his first appearance at the wheel of a Chevrolet Cruze, while another newcomer, Fredy Barth, claimed a place in Q2 driving the SEAT Swiss Racing car.
Tiago Monteiro did not repeat the miracle of Suzuka as he failed to qualify in his Honda Civic for Q2, despite another last-gasp push.
James Nash qualified the best of the Team Aon’s Ford Focus cars in 15th position.
Meanwhile, Gabriele Tarquini and Tom Coronel ranked ninth and 10th, meaning that they will start from the front row on the reversed grid for race two.