Shane van Gisbergen has put himself in the box seat to secure the Supercars title this afternoon by taking the Armor All Pole Award for the penultimate race of the season.
Van Gisbergen swept to his seventh pole of the season and the ninth in a row for Triple Eight with a 1:26.63s best.
The time came in a blistering two-lap run at the halfway mark of the 20 minute session that saw the Kiwi 0.35s clear of the field.
Van Gisbergen left little on the table during his laps, rubbing the right-hand doors of his Commodore down the fence as he searched for speed.
The 27-year-old can finish as low as fifth in today’s race, even if Whincup wins, and still seal the title a day early.
Whincup set his best time during a late flurry that followed a red flag called to reset the tyre bundle at Turn 2, which had been knocked by Tim Slade.
The final effort lifted Whincup from fourth to second, 0.10s adrift of Van Gisbergen.
Scott McLaughlin and Craig Lowndes also improved late to lockout the second row as they battle for third in the championship.
Garth Tander was demoted from third to fifth in the closing stages and will share the third row with team-mate James Courtney.
David Reynolds, Mark Winterbottom, Chaz Mostert and Rick Kelly completed the top 10.
DJR Team Penske’s lacklustre practice form continued with Fabian Coulthard and Scott Pye managing just 12th and 19th respectively.
The 250km Race 28 will get underway at 1545 local time.
Result: Virgin Australia Supercars Championship Coates Hire Sydney 500 Qualifying Race 28
|1||Red Bull Racing Australia||Shane Van Gisbergen||Holden Commodore VF||1:26.62|
|2||Red Bull Racing Australia||Jamie Whincup||Holden Commodore VF||1:26.73||00.10|
|3||Wilson Security Racing GRM||Scott McLaughlin||Volvo S60||1:26.84||00.21|
|4||TeamVortex||Craig Lowndes||Holden Commodore VF||1:27.03||00.40|
|5||Holden Racing Team||Garth Tander||Holden Commodore VF||1:27.05||00.42|
|6||Holden Racing Team||James Courtney||Holden Commodore VF||1:27.15||00.52|
|7||Erebus Motorsport Penrite||David Reynolds||Holden Commodore VF||1:27.18||00.56|
|8||The Bottle-O Racing Team||Mark Winterbottom||Ford Falcon FG/X||1:27.20||00.57|
|9||Supercheap Auto Racing||Chaz Mostert||Ford Falcon FG/X||1:27.26||00.63|
|10||Sengled Motorsport||Rick Kelly||Nissan Altima||1:27.27||00.64|
|11||Monster Energy Racing||Cameron Waters||Ford Falcon FG/X||1:27.42||00.79|
|12||DJR Team Penske||Fabian Coulthard||Ford Falcon FG/X||1:27.44||00.82|
|13||Team Darrell Lea STIX||Will Davison||Holden Commodore VF||1:27.52||00.89|
|14||Repair Management Aust Racing||Nick Percat||Holden Commodore VF||1:27.56||00.93|
|15||Wilson Security Racing GRM||James Moffat||Volvo S60||1:27.57||00.94|
|16||Nissan Motorsport||Michael Caruso||Nissan Altima||1:27.57||00.95|
|17||Freightliner Racing||Tim Slade||Holden Commodore VF||1:27.62||00.99|
|18||Team BOC||Jason Bright||Holden Commodore VF||1:27.68||01.05|
|19||DJR Team Penske||Scott Pye||Ford Falcon FG/X||1:27.69||01.07|
|20||carsales Racing||Todd Kelly||Nissan Altima||1:27.72||01.09|
|21||Super Black Racing||Chris Pither||Ford Falcon FG/X||1:27.91||01.29|
|22||GB Galvanizing Racing||Dale Wood||Nissan Altima||1:28.30||01.67|
|23||Preston Hire Racing||Lee Holdsworth||Holden Commodore VF||1:28.33||01.70|
|24||Plus Fitness Racing||Andre Heimgartner||Holden Commodore VF||1:28.36||01.73|
|25||Team Cooldrive||Tim Blanchard||Holden Commodore VF||1:28.45||01.82|
|26||Erebus Motorsport||Shae Davies||Holden Commodore VF||1:28.76||02.14|