Scott McLaughlin and Jamie Whincup again shared the pole positions for Races 5 and 6 at the Coates Hire Supercars Melbourne 400 as Shane van Gisbergen qualified last for the latter.
McLaughlin proved fastest in the first of the two 10-minute sessions before Whincup’s one-lap flyer was enough to repeat his result from yesterday in the second segment.
Qualifying for Race 5
McLaughlin (DJR Team Penske) bagged his second pole position of the season and the weekend after his 1:55.1576s underscored the performance of the FGX Falcon at the Albert Park circuit.
McLaughlin, team-mate Fabian Coulthard and Triple Eight duo Jamie Whincup and van Gisbergen all exited pitlane on the harder spec Dunlop warm-up tyres before switching to the supersoft for the flying runs.
The counter strategy came despite the track being heavily rubbered in following the 90-minute Formula 1 session 20 minutes prior.
While the late run proved crucial for 2017’s series runner-up, improved performers Nick Percat (Brad Jones Racing) and Scott Pye (Walkinshaw Andretti United) secured second and third on the grid with their efforts earlier in qualifying.
“Our car really hooked up and I was nervous because last night the track was cool and really grippy, but then obviously all the rubber has gone down with the Formula 1 boys and all the cars are hooked up,” said Percat.
“So hopefully in their next practice session they do more than six laps and get the place really gripped up.”
Race 4 pole-sitter Whincup dropped time in the final sector of his run, ending the session in fourth.
Tim Slade highlighted BJR’s gains in fifth place while Mostert (Tickford Racing), who set the first indicative time of the session with a 1:55.6535s, maintained sixth from his first lap.
Coulthard set the seventh best time and will be joined on the fourth row by Michael Caruso, who was the top performing Nissan driver again.
David Reynolds (Erebus), Cameron Waters (Tickford Racing) and Andre Heimgartner (Nissan Motorsport) also opted to set their times later in the session. While it worked for Reynolds who set the ninth fastest time, Heimgartner and Waters ended up 15th and 22nd.
Craig Lowndes (Triple Eight) made a major step forward from his Thursday performance, qualifying 10th.
“17th yesterday in the first qualifying session wasn’t good enough,” said Lowndes.
“We knew we could bounce back today, we’re going to make a slight chance to get the rear to hook in a little longer and see what we can do in second qualifying.”
Van Gisbergen proved to the biggest casualty of the quickfire session, managing the 17th best time of the session.
Despite taking to the track following the F1 session, the higher track temperatures prevented the times from dropping below those set during Thursday’s qualifying.
The 25-lap Race 5 of the Supercars Championship begins at 1830 local time/AEDT on Saturday.
Qualifying for Race 6
In a repeat of Thursday’s qualifying results, Whincup secured pole position in the second 10-minute segment.
The Red Bull driver’s 1:55.4777 was adrift of McLaughlin’s best in the earlier running but proved enough as the track condition and heat forced times to lengthen.
Whincup’s run secured a Holden top three, with Reynolds and Percat the next best.
Mostert, who saved his effort until late in the running, set the fourth best time ahead of Pye.
“I think for us, the circuit change wasn’t massive. The change between the first quali and the second quali was similar to yesterday,” said Pye.
“Actually, it’s strange we got a lot more understeer at the end of the lap and just struggled to finish it with the fronts, whereas the first run, 10 minutes earlier was a totally different balance. Overall pretty happy with the car.”
Coulthard’s time dropped from the earlier qualifying but his position improved to sixth – out-qualifying his team-mate McLaughlin for the first time this weekend.
Caruso and Will Davison secured the fourth row, while McLaughlin set the ninth fastest lap and was unable to return to the circuit in time for a second effort.
“(I) just lost a bit of rhythm, just through the left right chicane. I stuffed that up a little bit and I tried to make it all at the next corner and absolutely sprayed it,” said McLaughlin.
“I think we were on for a decent time, but I thought we could have been a lot worse, so we’ll take our second and two poles and move on. Then in the last race obviously battle hard.”
Underscoring the potential of Erebus this season, Anton De Pasquale ended the running in 10th place and made a significant mark in only his second round as a full-time driver.
“I’ve always liked more fast corners than the slower ones like Adelaide, but its a credit to the team,” the rookie said.
“Obviously the car got Dave on the front row in that (last) session – we’re improving every run so just working with everyone, working with Dave and just getting the most out of it that way.”
Van Gisbergen incurred a kerb strike on his first run and threw the #97 Red Bull Commodore off the road on his second run, consigning him to last on the grid having not set a lap time.
Todd Hazelwood (Matt Stone Racing) also had an off-track excursion, running wide at Turn 11 and cutting Turn 12, marking one of the few incidents in the session.
Race 6 of the Supercars Championship begins at 1345 local time/AEDT on Sunday.
Supercars will return to the track for the first race of the Coates Hire Melbourne 400 today 1750 local time/AEDT.
The race will mark the first occasion the series will compete for championship points at the Albert Park circuit.
Results: Armor All Qualifying for Race 5
|1||17||Shell V-Power Racing Team||Scott McLaughlin||Ford Falcon FG/X||1:55.1576|
|2||8||Tempur Racing||Nick Percat||Holden Commodore ZB||1:55.3121||0:00.1545|
|3||2||Mobil 1 Boost Mobile Racing||Scott Pye||Holden Commodore ZB||1:55.4181||0:00.2605|
|4||1||Red Bull Holden Racing Team||Jamie Whincup||Holden Commodore ZB||1:55.5744||0:00.4168|
|5||14||Freightliner Racing||Tim Slade||Holden Commodore ZB||1:55.5841||0:00.4265|
|6||55||Supercheap Auto Racing||Chaz Mostert||Ford Falcon FG/X||1:55.6535||0:00.4959|
|7||12||Shell V-Power Racing Team||Fabian Coulthard||Ford Falcon FG/X||1:55.7604||0:00.6028|
|8||23||Drive Racing||Michael Caruso||Nissan Altima||1:55.7936||0:00.6360|
|9||9||Erebus Penrite Racing||David Reynolds||Holden Commodore ZB||1:55.8202||0:00.6626|
|10||888||Autobarn Lowndes Racing||Craig Lowndes||Holden Commodore ZB||1:55.8516||0:00.6940|
|11||25||Mobil 1 Boost Mobile Racing||James Courtney||Holden Commodore ZB||1:55.9947||0:00.8371|
|12||5||The Bottle-O Racing Team||Mark Winterbottom||Ford Falcon FG/X||1:56.0122||0:00.8546|
|13||99||Erebus Thermosphere Racing||Anton De Pasquale||Holden Commodore ZB||1:56.0817||0:00.9241|
|14||33||Wilson Security Racing GRM||Garth Tander||Holden Commodore ZB||1:56.1326||0:00.9750|
|15||7||Plus Fitness Racing||Andre Heimgartner||Nissan Altima||1:56.1449||0:00.9873|
|16||15||Castrol Racing||Rick Kelly||Nissan Altima||1:56.1779||0:01.0203|
|17||97||Red Bull Holden Racing Team||Shane van Gisbergen||Holden Commodore ZB||1:56.3884||0:01.2308|
|18||78||Team Harvey Norman||Simona de Silvestro||Nissan Altima||1:56.5177||0:01.3601|
|19||230||Milwaukee Racing||Will Davison||Ford Falcon FG/X||1:56.6207||0:01.4631|
|20||34||Wilson Security Racing GRM||James Golding||Holden Commodore ZB||1:56.6627||0:01.5051|
|21||21||CoolDrive Racing||Tim Blanchard||Holden Commodore ZB||1:56.6871||0:01.5295|
|22||6||Monster Energy Racing||Cameron Waters||Ford Falcon FG/X||1:56.8658||0:01.7082|
|23||19||Tekno Autosports||Jack Le Brocq||Holden Commodore ZB||1:56.9542||0:01.7966|
|24||18||Preston Hire Racing||Lee Holdsworth||Holden Commodore ZB||1:57.0785||0:01.9209|
|25||56||Tickford Racing||Richie Stanaway||Ford Falcon FG/X||1:57.1634||0:02.0058|
|26||35||Bigmate Racing||Todd Hazelwood||Ford Falcon FG/X||1:57.3530||0:02.1954|
Results: Armor All Qualifying for Race 6
|1||1||Red Bull Holden Racing Team||Jamie Whincup||Holden Commodore ZB||1:55.4777|
|2||9||Erebus Penrite Racing||David Reynolds||Holden Commodore ZB||1:55.5330||0:00.0553|
|3||8||Tempur Racing||Nick Percat||Holden Commodore ZB||1:55.5726||0:00.0949|
|4||55||Supercheap Auto Racing||Chaz Mostert||Ford Falcon FG/X||1:55.5825||0:00.1048|
|5||2||Mobil 1 Boost Mobile Racing||Scott Pye||Holden Commodore ZB||1:55.7679||0:00.2902|
|6||12||Shell V-Power Racing Team||Fabian Coulthard||Ford Falcon FG/X||1:55.8967||0:00.4190|
|7||23||Drive Racing||Michael Caruso||Nissan Altima||1:55.9745||0:00.4968|
|8||230||Milwaukee Racing||Will Davison||Ford Falcon FG/X||1:55.9877||0:00.5100|
|9||17||Shell V-Power Racing Team||Scott McLaughlin||Ford Falcon FG/X||1:55.9927||0:00.5150|
|10||99||Erebus Thermosphere Racing||Anton De Pasquale||Holden Commodore ZB||1:55.9948||0:00.5171|
|11||33||Wilson Security Racing GRM||Garth Tander||Holden Commodore ZB||1:56.0082||0:00.5305|
|12||888||Autobarn Lowndes Racing||Craig Lowndes||Holden Commodore ZB||1:56.1351||0:00.6574|
|13||14||Freightliner Racing||Tim Slade||Holden Commodore ZB||1:56.1409||0:00.6632|
|14||5||The Bottle-O Racing Team||Mark Winterbottom||Ford Falcon FG/X||1:56.2174||0:00.7397|
|15||6||Monster Energy Racing||Cameron Waters||Ford Falcon FG/X||1:56.2405||0:00.7628|
|16||7||Plus Fitness Racing||Andre Heimgartner||Nissan Altima||1:56.2950||0:00.8173|
|17||15||Castrol Racing||Rick Kelly||Nissan Altima||1:56.4759||0:00.9982|
|18||19||Tekno Autosports||Jack Le Brocq||Holden Commodore ZB||1:56.4871||0:01.0094|
|19||78||Team Harvey Norman||Simona de Silvestro||Nissan Altima||1:56.8815||0:01.4038|
|20||56||Tickford Racing||Richie Stanaway||Ford Falcon FG/X||1:57.0245||0:01.5468|
|21||21||CoolDrive Racing||Tim Blanchard||Holden Commodore ZB||1:57.2643||0:01.7866|
|22||35||Bigmate Racing||Todd Hazelwood||Ford Falcon FG/X||1:57.3489||0:01.8712|
|23||34||Wilson Security Racing GRM||James Golding||Holden Commodore ZB||1:57.6625||0:02.1848|
|24||18||Preston Hire Racing||Lee Holdsworth||Holden Commodore ZB||1:58.4219||0:02.9442|
|25||25||Mobil 1 Boost Mobile Racing||James Courtney||Holden Commodore ZB||2:15.2034||0:19.7257|
|26||97||Red Bull Holden Racing Team||Shane van Gisbergen||Holden Commodore ZB|