Scott McLaughlin has given himself the best opportunity to seal a maiden Supercars crown by taking the final Armor All pole position of the season at the Coates Hire Newcastle 500.
McLaughlin once again showed his qualifying prowess by posting a 1:10.52s to claim his 16th pole position of the season.
The Shell V-Power Racing driver was seventh car out in the session having posted the fourth fastest time in this morning’s earlier qualifying session.
Drivers were greeted with less grip than yesterday after organisers laid a series of patches overnight to protect the track surface at Turns 8, 9, and the final corner.
Red Bull Holden Racing Team’s Shane van Gisbergen came close to snatching the pole but fell 0.02s shy of McLaughlin.
“It’s an amazing achievement by the team, Shell V-Power Racing, to give me an unbelievable car and to do it in the shootout again is fantastic,” said McLaughlin, who only needs to finish 11th or better to guarantee the title.
“One more race to go, but we’re sitting okay at the moment, I’ve got to get the thing off the line and we’ll be okay.
“I was pretty nervous the whole qualifying was nervous and really focused for that shootout lap and got it together, I need to focus now and just get on with it.”
Erebus Motorsport’s David Reynolds will head up the second row which he will share with Prodrive’s Mark Winterbottom, who was the last man out in the shootout.
Jamie Whincup will start the title-deciding race from fifth with the Red Bull Holden driver facing a 78 point deficit to McLaughlin.
The top 10 was completed by Rick Kelly (Nissan), Michael Caruso (Nissan), Fabian Coulthard (Shell V-Power Racing) and Todd Kelly (Nissan), as he prepares for his final Supercars race of his career.
The 95 lap title decider is set to begin at 1540 local time.
Results: Virgin Australia Supercars Championship Coates Hire Newcastle 500 Armor All Top 10 Shootout for Race 26
|1||Shell V-Power Racing Team||Scott McLaughlin||Ford Falcon FG/X||1:10.5212|
|2||Red Bull Holden Racing Aust||Shane Van Gisbergen||Holden Commodore VF||1:10.5502||0.0290|
|3||Erebus Penrite Racing||David Reynolds||Holden Commodore VF||1:10.6766||0.1554|
|4||The Bottle-O Racing Team||Mark Winterbottom||Ford Falcon FG/X||1:10.8429||0.3217|
|5||Red Bull Holden Racing Aust||Jamie Whincup||Holden Commodore VF||1:10.8665||0.3453|
|6||Sengled Racing||Rick Kelly||Nissan Altima||1:10.9438||0.4226|
|7||Nissan Motorsport||Michael Caruso||Nissan Altima||1:11.0046||0.4834|
|8||Shell V-Power Racing Team||Fabian Coulthard||Ford Falcon FG/X||1:11.0175||0.4963|
|9||Supercheap Auto Racing||Chaz Mostert||Ford Falcon FG/X||1:11.3532||0.8320|
|10||carsales Racing||Todd Kelly||Nissan Altima||1:11.8448||1.3236|