Great Britain's team pursuit squad set a world record in qualifying on a night of high drama at the London 2012 Olympic Velodrome.

After Victoria Pendleton and Jess Varnish were relegated from the team sprint for a takeover infringement, Ed Clancy, Steven Burke, Geraint Thomas and Peter Kennaugh laid down the gauntlet to their rivals.

The British quartet, who set the world record in winning April's Track Cycling World Championships in Melbourne, went 0.796 seconds faster on the opening day of action on the track, clocking three minutes 52.499 seconds.

Australia, Britain's closest rivals in Melbourne, finished more than three seconds behind in advancing to the first round as the second fastest qualifiers.

Australia's Jack Bobridge, Glenn O'Shea, Rohan Dennis and Michael Hepburn clocked 3mins 55.694secs.

Five teams went under the four-minute barrier and Britain were set to meet fourth-fastest qualifiers Denmark (3:58.298) tomorrow, with the winner advancing to the final.

New Zealand (3:57.607) were the third fastest qualifiers and were set to meet Australia in the next round for a place in the final.