Sepang, Malaysia: Spanish team HRT will hope their qualifying woes are behind them after setting a time fast enough to make the cut for Sunday's Malaysian Grand Prix at the fast, flowing Sepang circuit.

Pedro de la Rosa will line up 23rd on the grid after clocking in at one minute 43.655 seconds, comfortable inside the 107 percent cut-off time of 1:43.974.

Karthikeyan will line up alongside the Spaniard after he set a time of 1:43.655.

"We've run with DRS for the first time and there's still a lot more to come but at least I managed to do one lap of qualifying. There's more to come," de la Rosa said.

The 41-year-old is already setting his sights on rival backmarkers Marussia and is hoping he can take the fight to them at the next race in China.

"We shouldn't be too unhappy about it because no one thought we would qualify here. We've come here with an improved and more reliable car so I'm pretty happy."

HRT have been playing catch-up after missing pre-season testing for the third year in a row and failing to qualify for last weekend's Australian Grand Prix.

Friday practice was the first time the cars hit the track with serious intent, the drivers completing a total of 66 laps around the 5.543 km Sepang circuit.

On Thursday Karthikeyan said if the team managed to qualify in Malaysia they should be able to qualify anywhere.

"As you said earlier this is a very tough track," he said. "If we manage to qualify here then at least we don't have to bother about the qualifying issues anymore."