Whincup scorches to Yas Marina pole

Jamie Whincup drives through the pit lane tunnel at the stunning Yas Marina Circuit

Jamie Whincup drives through the pit lane tunnel at the stunning Yas Marina Circuit

Jamie Whincup has squashed any doubt about the early speed of TeamVodafone’s brand-new Holden Commodore VEs by scoring pole for the opening race of the 2010 V8 Supercars Championship Series at Yas Marina Circuit today.

The back-to-back Champ scorched to a 1m58.114s, and said that the lap rated as one of his best-ever in a V8 Supercar.

“That’s probably as good as it gets, really,” he said.

“Coming to a brand-new circuit with a brand-new car, and to get the most out of the car for that lap and to be on pole is a really good feeling. It’s one of the best poles I’ve got.

“I’m not sure where my car is strong at the moment, but over the lap it’s pretty consistent. The track is unbelievably grippy. It was quite a bit warmer than yesterday’s practice, so I think we’re all going quicker, we’re getting the most out of the track, but we’ve got a lot of laps ahead of ourselves tonight. We don’t want to get too far ahead of ourselves.”

While Whincup will start from pole, his team-mate Craig Lowndes will start from 10th after a spin in the hotel complex during the top 10 shoot-out.

Toll Holden Racing Team’s Garth Tander took second place – pitching Holden’s two lead teams against each other right from the start of the season.

Tander was happy with the front-row, but said that the car was capable of pole.

“The shoot-out lap probably wasn’t as tidy in the first sector as I would have liked,” he said.

“I tried something different that I saw Will (Davison) was doing but it doesn’t work for me. I think that our car was definitely good enough to be on pole, but we’re happy with the front row.”

Tander noted that his early weekend running has been hampered fractionally by the fact that his engineer Alistair McVean only arrived at the circuit today.

Third on the grid is Orrcon Steel’s Mark Winterbottom. The factory Ford driver said his new Falcon FG is still taking him time to come to grips with.

“The car is different to last year, and with Campbell Little on board, the car has been engineered a lot, so every time I go out there, it’s a different feel,” he said.

“In the first sector, I had to take it easy into turn one. The second sector was OK, and the third sector wasn’t flash, about to be third, I’m pretty happy.

Jim Beam Racing’s James Courtney will line-up fourth ahead of Toll HRT’s Will Davison, Trading Post’s Jason Bright, Fujitsu driver Lee Holdsworth and Irwin Racing’s Alex Davison.

Rounding out the top 10 is SP Tool’s Shane van Gisbergen who lost time in the last sector of his shoot-out lap, and Lowndes due to his spin.Holden Commoo

Outside the top 10, there were so woes. Rick and Todd Kelly in their ‘Jack Lives Here’ Commodore VEs will start in 17th and 21st respectively after a complete lack of rear grip.

Steven Richards’s Dunlop-sponsored FPR Falcon will start the first race of the season from 23rd, while the ‘Extra Smooth’ Commodore of Fabian Coulthard is next to him in 24th.

Qualifying results; Race 1; Yas Marina Circuit

1. #1 Jamie Whincup 1:58.1140
2. #2 Garth Tander 1:58.3550
3. #5 Mark Winterbottom 1:58.6620
4. #18 James Courtney 1:58.6790
5. #22 Will Davison 1:58.8540
6. #14 Jason Bright 1:58.9000
7. #33 Lee Holdsworth 1:59.3560
8. #4 Alex Davison 1:59.4180
9. #9 Shane van Gisbergen 1:59.5250
10. #888 Craig Lowndes 2:09.2870
11. #55 Paul Dumbrell 1:59.1360
12. #34 Michael Caruso 1:59.1980
13. #39 Russell Ingall 1:59.2400
14. #17 Steven Johnson 1:59.3210
15. #11 Jason Bargwanna 1:59.3710
16. #19 Jonathon Webb 1:59.3760
17. #15 Rick Kelly 1:59.4270
18. #3 Tony D’Alberto 1:59.8970
19. #47 Tim Slade 1:59.9030
20. #8 Jason Richards 1:59.9120
21. #7 Todd Kelly 2:00.0730
22. #10 Andrew Thompson 2:00.0770
23. #6 Steven Richards 2:00.1770
24. #24 Fabian Coulthard 2:00.1830
25. #21 Karl Reindler 2:00.3790
26. #12 Dean Fiore 2:00.3900
27. #51 Paul Morris 2:00.8450
28. #30 Daniel Gaunt 2:00.8850
29. #16 Tony Ricciardello 2:03.0130

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