McLaughlin storms to pole, Whincup fifth 

Scott McLaughlin

Scott McLaughlin claimed arguably his most important Armor All pole position of the season for the penultimate race of the season at the inaugural Coates Hire Newcastle 500.

The Shell V-Power Racing driver emerged on top from a hotly contested session to secure his 15th pole position of the season.

McLaughlin moved to the top of the times with four minutes of the session remaining after posting a 1:09.90s, which was enough to snatch pole position.

He will share the front row with Erebus Motorsport’s David Reynolds, who was only 0.009s shy of the title contender.

“We didn’t make it easy for ourselves – it was very difficult out there but that’s awesome,” said McLaughlin.

“(I’ve got to) push on now, get a good start to the race and all we can do is go fastest and win, and see what happens behind us.

“This weekend is the most important of the year and obviously to get pole and be in this position is fantastic.

“It’s going to be a tough track to pass but there’s going to be a lot of strategy and people behind us are going to come as us pretty hard.”

Less than a tenth covered the top five which was completed by championship leader Jamie Whincup.

The six-time champion will start behind the second row of Shane van Gisbergen and and Nissan Motorsport’s Michael Caruso.

“(I was) just at the wrong end of the closeness, unfortunately,” said Whincup, who holds a 30 point lead over McLaughlin in the standings.

“P5 around a track that’s tight and twisty and hard to pass, we’re going to have our work cut out this afternoon but that’s the way it goes.

“I think it should be better as a race car, but it’s very difficult to pass. I’m not sure. I’m rapt we’re up the front there somewhere to have a crack and see what we can do.”

Van Gisbergen was up on the leading sectors on his final run but was forced to back out of it when the low fuel light came on in his Red Bull Holden.

Meanwhile, Nissan Motorsport’s Rick Kelly was sixth fastest ahead of Tekno Autosport’s Will Davison and Fabian Coulthard (Shell V-Power Racing).

Mobil 1 HSV Racing’s James Courtney and Prodrive’s Chaz Mostert rounded out the top 10.

Craig Lowndes’ struggles continued as he was left languishing in 20th spot.

The penultimate race of the season is due to begin at 1545 local time.

Results: Virgin Australia Supercars Championship Coates Hire Newcastle 500, Race 25 Qualifying

1 Shell V-Power Racing Team Scott McLaughlin Ford Falcon FG/X 1:09.9065
2 Erebus Penrite Racing David Reynolds Holden Commodore VF 1:09.9163 0.0098
3 Red Bull Holden Racing Aust Shane Van Gisbergen Holden Commodore VF 1:09.9483 0.0418
4 Nissan Motorsport Michael Caruso Nissan Altima 1:09.9651 0.0586
5 Red Bull Holden Racing Aust Jamie Whincup Holden Commodore VF 1:09.9988 0.0923
6 Sengled Racing Rick Kelly Nissan Altima 1:10.0306 0.1241
7 TEKNO Woodstock Racing Will Davison Holden Commodore VF 1:10.0485 0.1420
8 Shell V-Power Racing Team Fabian Coulthard Ford Falcon FG/X 1:10.0839 0.1774
9 Mobil 1 HSV Racing James Courtney Holden Commodore VF 1:10.2208 0.3143
10 Supercheap Auto Racing Chaz Mostert Ford Falcon FG/X 1:10.2222 0.3157
11 The Bottle-O Racing Team Mark Winterbottom Ford Falcon FG/X 1:10.2357 0.3292
12 Timken Racing Nick Percat Holden Commodore VF 1:10.2764 0.3699
13 Wilson Security Racing GRM James Moffat Holden Commodore VF 1:10.2778 0.3713
14 carsales Racing Todd Kelly Nissan Altima 1:10.2900 0.3835
15 Freightliner Racing Tim Slade Holden Commodore VF 1:10.3398 0.4333
16 Wilson Security Racing GRM Garth Tander Holden Commodore VF 1:10.3637 0.4572
17 Mobil 1 HSV Racing Scott Pye Holden Commodore VF 1:10.4097 0.5032
18 Preston Hire Racing Lee Holdsworth Holden Commodore VF 1:10.4300 0.5235
19 Monster Energy Racing Cameron Waters Ford Falcon FG/X 1:10.4544 0.5479
20 TeamVortex Craig Lowndes Holden Commodore VF 1:10.5014 0.5949
21 Erebus GB Galvanizing Racing Dale Wood Holden Commodore VF 1:10.5039 0.5974
22 Team Harvey Norman Simona De Silvestro Nissan Altima 1:10.6040 0.6975
23 Plus Fitness Racing Aaren Russell Holden Commodore VF 1:10.9527 1.0462
24 Team CoolDrive Tim Blanchard Holden Commodore VF 1:11.0797 1.1732
25 MEGA Racing Jason Bright Ford Falcon FG/X 1:11.1154 1.2089
26 Repair Management Aust Racing Taz Douglas Holden Commodore VF 1:11.2466 1.3401

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