Whincup scores pole for Symmons Plains opener

Jamie Whincup's Red Bull Holden

Jamie Whincup’s Red Bull Holden

Jamie Whincup will start this afternoon’s two-part ‘Super Sprint’ race at Symmons Plains from pole position after emerging fastest from a typically tight qualifying session.

Although just 0.02s faster than fellow front-row starter Fabian Coulthard in the final reckoning, the Red Bull Holden driver looked supreme throughout the 20 minutes.

Whincup moved to the top with a 51.19s on the final lap of his first run, a time that remained fastest as he sat in pitlane for a full 10 minutes before re-emerging.

A brief second run yielded a slight improvement to 51.11s, which proved enough to secure his first pole of the 2013 season.

Coulthard, Mark Winterbottom, Garth Tander and Jason Bright all managed to eclipse Whincup’s first run effort during a frantic final four minutes and will fill second through fifth.

Will Davison, Shane van Gisbergen, Craig Lowndes, Scott McLaughlin and Alex Davison complete the top 10.

Lowndes had sat second with four minutes to go but was bumped down the order as he sat in his garage, his team unable to complete a late set-up change in time for a final run.

Shane van Gisbergen was lucky to escape an early spill

Shane van Gisbergen was lucky to escape an early spill

Van Gisbergen meanwhile enjoyed a lucky escaped in the opening stages as he managed to reverse out of the Turn 4 gravel after a mistake under brakes.

Had he become stuck, the double Adelaide pole-sitter would have almost certainly been consigned to a rear-of-grid start.

James Courtney managed to drag 13th out of a difficult session that saw the #22 Holden Racing Team Commodore spend considerable time in pitlane with its bonnet up.

The 2010 champion will share row seven with an impressive David Wall, who ensured that all three Brad Jones Racing Holdens will start in the top half of the field.

Lee Holdsworth was again the fastest of the Mercedes entries, but failed to repeat his encouraging seventh from practice and will start 21st.

Todd Kelly managed just one place better in the best of the Nissans.

Maro Engel will start from the back of the field after a five-place grid penalty for an incident with Michael Caruso’s Nissan during practice yesterday.

Race 3 of the championship will be run over two 60km legs with a 15 minute service break in between. The second leg will recommence with a double-file restart.

See below for the full qualifying result

1 Red Bull Racing Australia Jamie Whincup Holden Commodore VF 0:51.1057
2 Lockwood Racing Fabian Coulthard Holden Commodore VF 0:51.1297 0:00.0240
3 Pepsi Max Crew FPR Ford Mark Winterbottom Ford Falcon FG 0:51.1517 0:00.0460
4 Holden Racing Team Garth Tander Holden Commodore VF 0:51.1771 0:00.0714
5 Team BOC Jason Bright Holden Commodore VF 0:51.1821 0:00.0764
6 Pepsi Max Crew FPR Ford Will Davison Ford Falcon FG 0:51.2096 0:00.1039
7 TEKNO Team VIP Shane Van Gisbergen Holden Commodore VF 0:51.2179 0:00.1122
8 Red Bull Racing Australia Craig Lowndes Holden Commodore VF 0:51.2705 0:00.1648
9 Fujitsu Racing GRM Scott McLaughlin Holden Commodore VF 0:51.3207 0:00.2150
10 Jeld-wen FPR Ford Alex Davison Ford Falcon FG 0:51.3498 0:00.2441
11 The Bottle-O FPR Ford David Reynolds Ford Falcon FG 0:51.3747 0:00.2690
12 Tekno Autosports Jonathon Webb Holden Commodore VF 0:51.4374 0:00.3317
13 Holden Racing Team James Courtney Holden Commodore VF 0:51.4575 0:00.3518
14 Wilson Security Racing David Wall Holden Commodore VF 0:51.4718 0:00.3661
15 Fujitsu Racing GRM Alexandre Premat Holden Commodore VF 0:51.4818 0:00.3761
16 Team HIFLEX Tony D’Alberto Holden Commodore VF 0:51.5089 0:00.4032
17 Supercheap Auto Racing Russell Ingall Holden Commodore VF 0:51.5102 0:00.4045
18 ekol Racing Scott Pye Holden Commodore VF 0:51.5270 0:00.4213
19 Dodo Insurance Racing Dean Fiore Holden Commodore VF 0:51.5719 0:00.4662
20 Jack Daniel’s Racing Todd Kelly Nissan Altima 0:51.6283 0:00.5226
21 Irwin Racing Lee Holdsworth Mercedes E63 AMG 0:51.6489 0:00.5432
22 Norton 360 Racing James Moffat Nissan Altima 0:51.6773 0:00.5716
23 Heavy Haulage Racing Tim Slade Mercedes E63 AMG 0:51.6899 0:00.5842
24 Norton 360 Racing Michael Caruso Nissan Altima 0:51.7888 0:00.6831
25 SP Tools Racing Maro Engel Mercedes E63 AMG 0:51.7982 0:00.6925
26 Jack Daniel’s Racing Rick Kelly Nissan Altima 0:51.8351 0:00.7294
27 Wilson Security Racing Tim Blanchard Ford Falcon FG 0:51.8695 0:00.7638
28 Wilson Security Racing Jonny Reid Ford Falcon FG 0:52.0816 0:00.9759

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