Jamie Whincup scored the Armor All Pole Award for Race 23 at the Castrol Gold Coast 600 in a thrilling Top 10 Shootout that saw the top four cars separated by just 0.14s.
The last man on track after topping qualifying this morning, Whincup’s 1:10.89s proved 0.09s quicker than team-mate Shane van Gisbergen.
Whincup had been slower to the end of the second sector but did enough in the final corners to score a 72nd career pole.
The six-time champion stepped up as he attempts to stop Van Gisbergen’s phenomenal run that has seen the Kiwi draw 160 points clear in the standings.
“I’m pretty happy with that,” beamed Whincup, whose co-driver Paul Dumbrell had to double-stack behind the pole-sitting Van Gisbergen/Alex Premat entry early in yesterday’s race.
“It’s such a gnarly little lap and to get it all right here is a good feeling.”
Van Gisbergen said that he struggled with tyre temperature early in his run.
“It was pretty average,” he said. “It’s hard to get the temp up in one lap.”
David Reynolds and Scott McLaughlin will share the second row having also held the fastest time through stages of the session.
McLaughlin was the first on track, setting a 1:11.03s that could not be beaten by the subsequent five drivers.
Reynolds was the one to finally knock off the Volvo, quipping that his Shootout lap had required “the right mix between risk and coffee”.
Craig Lowndes, Chaz Mostert, James Moffat, Mark Winterbottom and Will Davison filled fifth through ninth, while Garth Tander was 10th after triggering the kerb sensor in the beach chicane.
The Tander/Warren Luff Holden will start 20th thanks to a 10-place grid penalty for Tander’s collision with Fabian Coulthard yesterday.
“I just got to deep into the chicane,” said Tander of his Shootout error. “It’s just the way it goes.”
Winterbottom meanwhile came the closest to disaster as he wrestled with his Bottle-O Ford, narrowly avoiding the concrete at the exit of the beach chicane.
“We’re just struggling for grip,” he shrugged.
“When I lean on the car I’m either losing the front or the rear.”
The 300km Race 23 will get underway at 1425 local time.
Result: Virgin Australia Supercars Championship Castrol Gold Coast 600 Race 23 Grid
|1||Red Bull Racing Australia||Jamie Whincup||Holden Commodore VF||1:10.88 T10|
|2||Red Bull Racing Australia||Shane Van Gisbergen||Holden Commodore VF||1:10.97 T10||00.08|
|3||Erebus Motorsport Penrite||David Reynolds||Holden Commodore VF||1:10.99 T10||00.11|
|4||Wilson Security Racing GRM||Scott McLaughlin||Volvo S60||1:11.02 T10||00.14|
|5||TeamVortex||Craig Lowndes||Holden Commodore VF||1:11.14 T10||00.25|
|6||Supercheap Auto Racing||Chaz Mostert||Ford Falcon FG/X||1:11.54 T10||00.65|
|7||Wilson Security Racing GRM||James Moffat||Volvo S60||1:11.58 T10||00.70|
|8||The Bottle-O Racing Team||Mark Winterbottom||Ford Falcon FG/X||1:11.69 T10||00.80|
|9||Team Darrell Lea STIX||Will Davison||Holden Commodore VF||1:11.98 T10||01.09|
|10||Nissan Motorsport||Michael Caruso||Nissan Altima||1:10.99|
|11||Freightliner Racing||Tim Slade||Holden Commodore VF||1:11.01|
|12||Preston Hire Racing||Lee Holdsworth||Holden Commodore VF||1:11.03|
|13||Holden Racing Team||James Courtney||Holden Commodore VF||1:11.09|
|14||Monster Energy Racin||Cameron Waters||Ford Falcon FG/X||1:11.11|
|15||DJR Team Penske||Scott Pye||Ford Falcon FG/X||1:11.11|
|16||Super Black Racing||Chris Pither||Ford Falcon FG/X||1:11.20|
|17||DJR Team Penske||Fabian Coulthard||Ford Falcon FG/X||1:11.22|
|18||Sengled Motorsport||Rick Kelly||Nissan Altima||1:11.31|
|19||Team BOC||Jason Bright||Holden Commodore VF||1:11.37|
|20||Holden Racing Team||Garth Tander||Holden Commodore VF||T10 Lap disallowed 10 place grid penalty|
|21||Plus Fitness Racing||Andre Heimgartner||Holden Commodore VF||1:11.41|
|22||carsales Racing||Todd Kelly||Nissan Altima||1:11.43|
|23||Team Cooldrive||Tim Blanchard||Holden Commodore VF||1:11.57|
|24||Clipsal 500 Adelaide Racing||Nick Percat||Holden Commodore VF||1:11.66|
|25||GB Galvanizing Racing||Dale Wood||Nissan Altima||1:11.71|
|26||Erebus Motorsport||Shae Davies||Holden Commodore VF|