As expected, the US quartet qualified as the fastest team for Sunday’s final to assert their authority on the event which their nation has won eight times during the 12 editions of this event.
Two months before the inaugural IAAF World Relays in Nassau, Bahamas, the US team finished almost two seconds clear of Jamaica in the first heat.
Clayton Parros, Ricky Babineaux, Kind Butler and Calvin Smith comprised the team which combined to clock 3:04.36, with Jamaica second in 3:06.12.
Hosts Poland qualified in third place. Despite finishing fourth in the first heat, and thus failing to progress, Ukraine registered a 3:07.54 national record.
Great Britain clocked the third-fastest qualifying time with a 3:06.09 season’s best to win the second heat.
After their first-leg sprinter Conrad Williams and the lead-off men for the other teams having to run more than 150 metres before the recall gun was fired due to a faulty start, the 2012 world indoor 4x400m silver medallist composed himself on his return to his blocks and the British outlet led the race all the way from the gun.
Williams’ colleague from the 2012 event in Istanbul, Michael Bingham, passed the baton on to Jamie Bowie and then Luke Lennon-Ford brought the quartet home.
Russia finished second behind Great Britain with 3:06.63.
With European under-23 champion Lev Mosin and Vladimir Krasnov – both of whom also on their nation's World Championships 4x400m bronze medal-winning team – the Russians will look to challenge for the medals again on Sunday.
With a 3:07.95 African indoor record, Nigeria grabbed the final qualification spot with third place in heat two.
The shock of the morning came in this race as Olympic champions Bahamas slipped back from third to fourth position on the final leg to shatter their gold medal hopes.
With two of their Olympic 4x400m gold medallists, Ramon Miller and Michael Mathieu, in the team, in addition to 2008 Olympic 4x400m runner-up Andretti Bain, the squad paid the price for putting Latoy Williams on their anchor leg in order to let their 2010 world indoor 400m champion Chris Brown rest his legs before the final.
Nicola Bamford for the IAAF