Shell Fords lock out front row for Race 9 at PI
Scott McLaughlin has taken the Armor All Pole Position for Race 9 of the Supercars Championship at Phillip Island in a DJR Team Penske one-two.
He and Fabian Coulthard both stepped out of their Shell V-Power Falcons before the rest of the field went for final runs in the 20-minute session, satisfied with their pace and keen to conserve tyres.
McLaughlin reeled out a 1:29.7996s on his first flying lap, not long before a red flag was called for Michael Caruso’s crawl back to pit lane with an oil pressure warning.
When the field came out for a second shot, Coulthard moved up from fifth-fastest to hold top spot for a brief moment with a 1:29.6972s.
His team-mate, however, regained provisional pole with a 1:29.5057s which put the DJRTP Fords 0.35s faster than Jamie Whincup in third position.
Neither New Zealander opted for another run at a lap time and their confidence was borne out when Whincup, like most of the field, did not go quicker in the final minutes.
“I’ve got nothing left in it,” said McLaughlin shortly after exiting Car #17.
“Feeling pretty good, but tyres are pretty important around here especially in the race so it’d be good to have a green set up out sleeve for the race.
“If anyone goes faster good job to them.”
Coulthard added at the time, “We’ve made the call that these tyres are going to be invaluable this afternoon (and) we’re prepared to take a bit of a hit if people go faster.”
Row 2 will also be an intra-team affair with Red Bull Holden Racing Team’s Shane van Gisbergen ending up fourth-fastest.
The 2016 champion brought Car #97 back in for a rear ride height change as soon as he had started what would have been his final run, but could not go faster upon quickly returning to the circuit.
Craig Lowndes (Triple Eight Commodore) was one of the few to improve on his final lap to line up fifth, alongside Rick Kelly (Castrol Altima).
Rounding out the top 10 were David Reynolds (Erebus Commodore), Chaz Mostert (Supercheap Auto Falcon), Anton De Pasquale (Erebus Commodore), and Cameron Waters (Tickford Falcon).
Will Davison took the 23Red Falcon to 11th-fastest, while the Walkinshaw Andretti United Commodores ended up 16th (Scott Pye) and 17th (James Courtney).
Michael Caruso (Nissan Motorsport) will start from last on the 26-car grid having not been allowed to take any further after causing the red flag.
“Unfortunately, the telemetry is not working,” he explained.
“The oil pressure light came on; you can’t ignore that so (I) had to stop.”
Race 9 of the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship, the WD-40 Phillip Island 500 opener, takes place over 57 laps from 1545 local time/AEST.
Results: Virgin Australia Supercars Championship, WD-40 Phillip Island 500, Race 9 Qualifying
|1||17||Shell V-Power Racing Team||Scott McLaughlin||Ford Falcon FG/X||1:29.506|
|2||12||Shell V-Power Racing Team||Fabian Coulthard||Ford Falcon FG/X||1:29.697|
|3||1||Red Bull Holden Racing Team||Jamie Whincup||Holden Commodore ZB||1:30.052|
|4||97||Red Bull Holden Racing Team||Shane Van Gisbergen||Holden Commodore ZB||1:30.180|
|5||888||Autobarn Lowndes Racing||Craig Lowndes||Holden Commodore ZB||1:30.200|
|6||15||Castrol Racing||Rick Kelly||Nissan Altima||1:30.264|
|7||9||Erebus Penrite Racing||David Reynolds||Holden Commodore ZB||1:30.298|
|8||55||Supercheap Auto Racing||Chaz Mostert||Ford Falcon FG/X||1:30.316|
|9||99||Erebus Thermosphere Racing||Anton de Pasquale||Holden Commodore ZB||1:30.356|
|10||6||Monster Energy Racing||Cameron Waters||Ford Falcon FG/X||1:30.439|
|11||230||Milwaukee Racing||Will Davison||Ford Falcon FG/X||1:30.460|
|12||200||The Bottle-O Racing Team||Mark Winterbottom||Ford Falcon FG/X||1:30.513|
|13||8||Coregas Racing||Nick Percat||Holden Commodore ZB||1:30.529|
|14||14||Freightliner Racing||Tim Slade||Holden Commodore ZB||1:30.541|
|15||33||Wilson Security Racing GRM||Garth Tander||Holden Commodore ZB||1:30.585|
|16||2||Mobil 1 Boost Mobile Racing||Scott Pye||Holden Commodore ZB||1:30.586|
|17||25||Mobil 1 Boost Mobile Racing||James Courtney||Holden Commodore ZB||1:30.787|
|18||19||Tekno Autosport||Jack Le Brocq||Holden Commodore ZB||1:30.788|
|19||56||MEGA Racing||Richie Stanaway||Ford Falcon FG/X||1:30.828|
|20||34||Wilson Security Racing GRM||James Golding||Holden Commodore ZB||1:30.836|
|21||7||Plus Fitness Racing||Andre Heimgartner||Nissan Altima||1:31.008|
|22||18||Preston Hire Racing||Lee Holdsworth||Holden Commodore ZB||1:31.026|
|23||35||Bigmate Racing||Todd Hazelwood||Ford Falcon FG/X||1:31.105|
|24||21||Team CoolDrive||Tim Blanchard||Holden Commodore ZB||1:31.340|
|25||78||Team Harvey Norman||Simona De Silvestro||Nissan Altima||1:31.463|
|26||23||Drive Racing||Michael Caruso||Nissan Altima|