Local hero Scott McLaughlin took a popular pole position for the final race of the weekend at the ITM 500 Auckland.
To the roar of the crowd on the front straight, McLaughlin recorded a best of 1:03.16s with just a minute remaining in the session to eclipse Jamie Whincup by 0.0014s.
Whincup had earlier shot to the top when the second green tyre runs began with two minutes left on the clock.
“To put in a lap like that was awesome,” beamed McLaughlin after acknowledging the fans upon exiting his car. “I’m that pumped right now it’s crazy.”
Scott Pye jumped to third after the chequered flag to share the second row with David Reynolds, who had survived a small impact with the Turn 4 tyres on his first run.
The two Fords were both within a tenth of McLaughlin’s pole time in an incredibly tight session.
Michael Caruso was quickest of all on the first set of tyres but, despite improving in the closing stages, could do no better than fifth.
His earlier 1:03.43s was bettered by a total of nine drivers inside the final moments of the 20 minute session.
Fabian Coulthard showed an encouraging improvement for Brad Jones Racing with sixth ahead of James Moffat, Shane van Gisbergen, Mark Winterbottom and Craig Lowndes.
Walkinshaw Racing’s struggles meanwhile continued, with Garth Tander the four-car squad’s lead runner in just 14th.
Result: V8 Supercars ITM 500 Auckland Race 30 Qualifying
|1||Wilson Security Racing GRM||Scott McLaughlin||Volvo S60||1:03.1629*H|
|2||Red Bull Racing Australia||Jamie Whincup||Holden Commodore VF||1:03.1643 H||00.0014|
|3||DJR Team Penske||Scott Pye||Ford Falcon FG/X||1:03.2188 H||00.0559|
|4||The Bottle-O Racing Team||David Reynolds||Ford Falcon FG/X||1:03.2517 H||00.0888|
|5||Nissan Motorsport||Michael Caruso||Nissan Altima||1:03.2848 H||00.1219|
|6||Freightliner Racing||Fabian Coulthard||Holden Commodore VF||1:03.3274 H||00.1645|
|7||Nissan Motorsport||James Moffat||Nissan Altima||1:03.3432 H||00.1803|
|8||Team Darrell Lea STIX||Shane Van Gisbergen||Holden Commodore VF||1:03.3619 H||00.1990|
|9||Pepsi Max Crew||Mark Winterbottom||Ford Falcon FG/X||1:03.3834 H||00.2205|
|10||Red Bull Racing Australia||Craig Lowndes||Holden Commodore VF||1:03.4660 H||00.3031|
|11||Pepsi Max Crew||Cameron Waters||Ford Falcon FG/X||1:03.4926 H||00.3297|
|12||Team BOC||Jason Bright||Holden Commodore VF||1:03.5314 H||00.3685|
|13||Erebus Motorsport V8||Will Davison||Mercedes E63 AMG||1:03.5555 H||00.3926|
|14||Holden Racing Team||Garth Tander||Holden Commodore VF||1:03.5789 H||00.4160|
|15||Holden Racing Team||James Courtney||Holden Commodore VF||1:03.6259 H||00.4630|
|16||Walkinshaw Racing||Lee Holdsworth||Holden Commodore VF||1:03.6281 H||00.4652|
|17||Nissan Motorsport||Rick Kelly||Nissan Altima||1:03.6327 H||00.4698|
|18||Repair Management Aust Racing||Nick Percat||Holden Commodore VF||1:03.6592 H||00.4963|
|19||Supercheap Auto Racing||Tim Slade||Holden Commodore VF||1:03.6849 H||00.5220|
|20||Nissan Motorsport||Todd Kelly||Nissan Altima||1:03.7966 H||00.6337|
|21||Team Cooldrive||Tim Blanchard||Holden Commodore VF||1:03.8064 H||00.6435|
|22||Erebus Motorsport V8||Ashley Walsh||Mercedes E63 AMG||1:03.8244 H||00.6615|
|23||Super Black Racing||Andre Heimgartner||Ford Falcon FG/X||1:03.8248 H||00.6619|
|24||Wilson Security Racing GRM||David Wall||Volvo S60||1:03.9138 H||00.7509|
|25||GB Galvanizing Racing||Dale Wood||Holden Commodore VF||1:03.9900 H||00.8271|