Whincup edges McLaughlin to claim Race 24 pole
Jamie Whincup pipped title rival Scott McLaughlin to claim the Armor All pole position for Race 24 at the ITM Auckland Super Sprint.
The Red Bull Holden Racing Team driver jumped from seventh to the top of the times with just two minutes remaining as the six-time champion claimed only his second pole position of the season with a 1:02.51s lap.
It proved to be one of the hardest fought sessions of the season with 0.05s covering the top four at a dry 2.91km Pukekohe Park Raceway.
“Every pole’s a great feeling. Car was good, we just really maximised that last lap, so happy days,” said Whincup after claiming his 75th career Supercars pole.
“Heading out with green tyres, P7 I think I was, and Scotty was on pole, so had to pull it all out, took a risk, could have ended up P20 but got pole.”
McLaughlin, who is second in the series standings, was fastest at the halfway mark in the #17 Shell Ford, and was just 0.0055s shy of Whincup at the chequered flag.
Prodrive’s Chaz Mostert was third just ahead of team-mates Mark Winterbottom and Cameron Waters.
Brad Jones Racing’s Tim Slade impressed to claim sixth ahead of Race 23 race winner Shane van Gisbergen (Red Bull Holden), who was outside of the top 10 heading into the final moments.
Fabian Coulthard managed to secure eighth in his repaired #12 Shell Ford, while James Moffat (Garry Rogers Motorsport) and David Reynolds (Erebus Motorsport) rounded out the top 10.
Meanwhile, Craig Lowndes survived a visit to the Turn 4 barriers to finish the session in 12th position.
Lowndes misjudged Turn 3 which then put him off line and into the tyre wall at Turn 4.
Luckily he was able to recover the car, preventing a stoppage to qualifying late in the running.
Michael Caruso was the top Nissan entry in 13th position.
Race 24 is scheduled to start at 1610 (1410 AEDT).
Result: Virgin Australian Supercars ITM Auckland Super Sprint, Race 24 Qualifying
|1||Red Bull Holden Racing Aust||Jamie Whincup||Holden Commodore VF||1:02.515|
|2||Shell V-Power Racing Team||Scott McLaughlin||Ford Falcon FG/X||1:02.520||0.006|
|3||Supercheap Auto Racing||Chaz Mostert||Ford Falcon FG/X||1:02.536||0.021|
|4||The Bottle-O Racing Team||Mark Winterbottom||Ford Falcon FG/X||1:02.572||0.058|
|5||Monster Energy Racing||Cameron Waters||Ford Falcon FG/X||1:02.631||0.116|
|6||Freightliner Racing||Tim Slade||Holden Commodore VF||1:02.738||0.223|
|7||Red Bull Holden Racing Aust||Shane Van Gisbergen||Holden Commodore VF||1:02.777||0.262|
|8||Shell V-Power Racing Team||Fabian Coulthard||Ford Falcon FG/X||1:02.833||0.319|
|9||Wilson Security Racing GRM||James Moffat||Holden Commodore VF||1:02.861||0.346|
|10||Erebus Penrite Racing||David Reynolds||Holden Commodore VF||1:02.894||0.380|
|11||Wilson Security Racing GRM||Garth Tander||Holden Commodore VF||1:02.909||0.395|
|12||TeamVortex||Craig Lowndes||Holden Commodore VF||1:02.940||0.425|
|13||Nissan Motorsport||Michael Caruso||Nissan Altima||1:02.941||0.426|
|14||Preston Hire Racing||Lee Holdsworth||Holden Commodore VF||1:02.965||0.450|
|15||Harley-Davidson Racing||Nick Percat||Holden Commodore VF||1:02.971||0.456|
|16||Sengled Racing||Rick Kelly||Nissan Altima||1:02.972||0.457|
|17||TEKNO Woodstock Racing||Will Davison||Holden Commodore VF||1:02.997||0.483|
|18||MEGA Racing||Jason Bright||Ford Falcon FG/X||1:03.018||0.503|
|19||Mobil 1 HSV Racing||Scott Pye||Holden Commodore VF||1:03.022||0.507|
|20||Mobil 1 HSV Racing||James Courtney||Holden Commodore VF||1:03.066||0.552|
|21||carsales Racing||Todd Kelly||Nissan Altima||1:03.105||0.590|
|22||Erebus GB Galvanizing Racing||Dale Wood||Holden Commodore VF||1:03.369||0.854|
|23||Team Harvey Norman||Simona De Silvestro||Nissan Altima||1:03.423||0.908|
|24||Team CoolDrive||Tim Blanchard||Holden Commodore VF||1:03.542||1.027|
|25||TrailLite Racing||Jack Perkins||Holden Commodore VF||1:03.655||1.140|
|26||Plus Fitness Racing||Aaren Russell||Holden Commodore VF||1:03.988||1.474|