Chaz Mostert has put himself in the box seat to break a year-long victory drought by scoring the Armor All Pole Award for Race 18 at Sydney Motorsport Park.
The Prodrive ace bettered his own qualifying lap record from 12 months ago by setting a 1:28.83s best during his first of two soft tyre runs in the 15 minute session.
Shane van Gisbergen and Jamie Whincup had put Red Bull one-two with their opening run, before Mostert – who completed an initial lap on hard tyres – demoted the duo at the halfway mark.
Scott Pye, James Courtney, Tim Slade, Rick Kelly, Scott McLaughlin and Mark Winterbottom completed a top nine that went unchanged across the final green tyre runs.
Tenth placed Craig Lowndes was one of few to improve on his second set, gaining a single place at the expense of Garth Tander.
“The car was really hooked up on the soft tyres,” smiled Mostert after claiming his fourth pole of the season.
“The track is a bit broken up everywhere but it was fantastic to put a green soft on and put it up the pointy end.”
Drivers were at a loss to explain why there were so few improvers late in the session.
“It’s hard to explain but it’s been that way lately that if you nail the first run it seems to be the quickest,” said Van Gisbergen.
“The car felt good, I just couldn’t match the time, even though I made a mistake in that first run.”
“I don’t know if the ambient came up, it got quite sunny,” added Courtney.
“It doesn’t sound like much but it affects how the tyre works.
“It was good for us to get fifth. It’s better than how we’ve been qualifying.”
Today’s 120km race will take place from 1630 local time.
Result: Virgin Australian Supercars Championship Red Rooster Sydney Super Sprint Race 18 Qualifying
|1||Supercheap Auto Racing||Chaz Mostert||Ford Falcon FG/X||1:28.82|
|2||Red Bull Racing Australia||Shane Van Gisbergen||Holden Commodore VF||1:29.08||00.25|
|3||Red Bull Racing Australia||Jamie Whincup||Holden Commodore VF||1:29.14||00.32|
|4||DJR Team Penske||Scott Pye||Ford Falcon FG/X||1:29.23||00.40|
|5||Holden Racing Team||James Courtney||Holden Commodore VF||1:29.23||00.41|
|6||Freightliner Racing||Tim Slade||Holden Commodore VF||1:29.26||00.44|
|7||Sengled Motorsport||Rick Kelly||Nissan Altima||1:29.32||00.49|
|8||Wilson Security Racing GRM||Scott McLaughlin||Volvo S60||1:29.38||00.55|
|9||The Bottle-O Racing Team||Mark Winterbottom||Ford Falcon FG/X||1:29.44||00.61|
|10||TeamVortex||Craig Lowndes||Holden Commodore VF||1:29.46||00.63|
|11||Holden Racing Team||Garth Tander||Holden Commodore VF||1:29.49||00.66|
|12||DJR Team Penske||Fabian Coulthard||Ford Falcon FG/X||1:29.55||00.72|
|13||Team Darrell Lea STIX||Will Davison||Holden Commodore VF||1:29.59||00.76|
|14||Nissan Motorsport||Michael Caruso||Nissan Altima||1:29.60||00.77|
|15||Erebus Motorsport Penrite||David Reynolds||Holden Commodore VF||1:29.64||00.82|
|16||Wilson Security Racing GRM||James Moffat||Volvo S60||1:29.70||00.88|
|17||Super Black Racing||Chris Pither||Ford Falcon FG/X||1:29.75||00.92|
|18||Team BOC||Jason Bright||Holden Commodore VF||1:29.77||00.94|
|19||Monster Energy Racing||Cameron Waters||Ford Falcon FG/X||1:29.97||01.14|
|20||GB Galvanizing Racing||Dale Wood||Nissan Altima||1:29.97||01.14|
|21||LD Motorsport||Nick Percat||Holden Commodore VF||1:30.13||01.31|
|22||Team Cooldrive||Tim Blanchard||Holden Commodore VF||1:30.19||01.37|
|23||Preston Hire Racing||Karl Reindler||Holden Commodore VF||1:30.25||01.43|
|24||carsales Racing||Todd Kelly||Nissan Altima||1:30.38||01.55|
|25||LD Motorsport||Andre Heimgartner||Holden Commodore VF||1:30.49||01.66|
|26||Erebus Motorsport||Shae Davies||Holden Commodore VF||1:30.85||02.03|