McLaughlin takes impressive provisional pole in Darwin

Scott McLaughlin

Scott McLaughlin has blazed to the fastest lap of the CrownBet Darwin Triple Crown weekend to secure provisional Armor All pole for Race 16 of the Supercars season.

Shane van Gisbergen, however, missed a Top 10 Shootout for the first time since Townsville in 2012 and will start this afternoon’s 200km race from 11th.

The Race 15 winner attempted only two flyers, either side of a long spell in the pits during the 20-minute qualifying session, moving from fourth to first with a 1:05.5538s.

McLaughlin’s time saw star rookie Anton De Pasquale demoted from top spot before James Courtney shot up to second position in the #25 Boost Mobile ZB Commodore.

Courtney, however, was a relatively large 0.2072s slower than the #17 Shell V-Power FGX Falcon.

Second to third was much closer, with De Pasquale’s only flyer in the #99 Erebus Motorsport ZB Commodore just 0.0191s further off the pace.

“It’s always hard, you come off a long race yesterday and big sleep tonight and you’ve got to do it on Lap 1,” said De Pasquale.

“(It) worked out good, we only did the one lap, we saved a couple of sets of tyres and carry a new set over to the Top 10 (Shootout); (we’ll) try and beat the other guys there.

“Our one-lap speed is really fast, our race car was okay yesterday so we’ll try and fix that up for today, but the first mission now is the Top 10 Shootout.

“(It’s my) first one so hopefully I work out how to do it.”

Fabian Coulthard was fourth-fastest but, like Courtney, has reportedly used up all of his new tyre sets on the #12 DJR Team Penske FGX Falcon.

Nick Percat emulated De Pasquale in making the shootout with just one run at qualifying, claiming fifth in the #8 Freightliner ZB Commodore.

Rick Kelly was the first of the Nissans in sixth in the #15 Castrol Altima, while Michael Caruso also made the one-lap dash with ninth position in the #23 Drive Altima.

Splitting them were Jamie Whincup (#1 Red Bull HRT ZB Commodore) and Garth Tander (#33 Wilson Security ZB Commodore).

David Reynolds will be first on-track in the shootout in the #9 Erebus Penrite ZB Commodore.

Van Gisbergen bucked the trend by waiting until the fourth minute to start his session, after which he was 26th on used tyres.

The #97 Triple Eight ZB Commodore sat eighth on the timing screen before the final run but was bumped out of the top 10 by team-mate Whincup’s marginal improvement and the leaps made by Courtney and Caruso.

Chaz Mostert (#55 Supercheap Auto FGX Falcon) was Tickford Racing’s best in 13th, one position ahead of Craig Lowndes (#888 Autobarn ZB Commodore).

Oher notables were Scott Pye (#2 WAU ZB Commodore) in 19th, Mark Winterbottom (#5 The Bottle-O FGX Falcon) in 24th, and wildcard Macauley Jones (#4 DrillPro ZB Commodore) in 25th.

“That’s pretty average,” said Winterbottom.

“First run, brake pedal went to the floor into (Turn) 1, so not very confidence inspiring and that’s probably when the track was at its best as well for us.

“We’re just slow. Trying to make it quicker and unfortunately we’re 24th. It was a clean lap, that’s all the car had. Frustrating session.”

McLaughlin’s lap keeps him in the hunt for the elusive ‘Triple Crown’ and an eighth pole of the season.

The grid for Race 16 of the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship will be finalised with the shootout at 1045 local time/1115 AEST.

Results: CrownBet Darwin Triple Crown Supercars Race 16 Armor All Qualifying

1  17  Shell V-Power Racing Team Scott McLaughlin Ford Falcon FG/X 1:05.5538RSS
2  25  Mobil 1 Boost Mobile Racing James Courtney Holden Commodore ZB 1:05.7610 SS 00.2072
3  99  Erebus Motorsport Anton de Pasquale Holden Commodore ZB 1:05.7801 SS 00.2263
4  12  Shell V-Power Racing Team Fabian Coulthard Ford Falcon FG/X 1:05.7934 SS 00.2396
5   8  Freightliner Racing Nick Percat Holden Commodore ZB 1:05.8336 SS 00.2798
6  15  Castrol Racing Rick Kelly Nissan Altima 1:05.8808 SS 00.3270
7   1  Red Bull Holden Racing Team Jamie Whincup Holden Commodore ZB 1:05.8842 SS 00.3304
8  33  Wilson Security Racing GRM Garth Tander Holden Commodore ZB 1:05.8874 SS 00.3336
9  23  Drive Racing Michael Caruso Nissan Altima 1:05.8903 SS 00.3365
10   9  Erebus Penrite Racing David Reynolds Holden Commodore ZB 1:05.8918 SS 00.3380
11  97  Red Bull Holden Racing Team Shane Van Gisbergen Holden Commodore ZB 1:05.8999 SS 00.3461
12   7  Plus Fitness Racing Andre Heimgartner Nissan Altima 1:05.9102 SS 00.3564
13  55  Supercheap Auto Racing Chaz Mostert Ford Falcon FG/X 1:05.9324 SS 00.3786
14 888  Autobarn Lowndes Racing Craig Lowndes Holden Commodore ZB 1:05.9750 SS 00.4212
15  14  Freightliner Racing Tim Slade Holden Commodore ZB 1:05.9878 SS 00.4340
16   6  Monster Energy Racing Cameron Waters Ford Falcon FG/X 1:06.1110 SS 00.5572
17  78  Team Harvey Norman Simona De Silvestro Nissan Altima 1:06.1355 SS 00.5817
18 230  Milwaukee Racing Will Davison Ford Falcon FG/X 1:06.1403 SS 00.5865
19   2  Mobil 1 Boost Mobile Racing Scott Pye Holden Commodore ZB 1:06.1471 SS 00.5933
20  19  Tekno Autosport Jack Le Brocq Holden Commodore ZB 1:06.1554 SS 00.6016
21  21  Team CoolDrive Tim Blanchard Holden Commodore ZB 1:06.1638 SS 00.6100
22  18  Preston Hire Racing Lee Holdsworth Holden Commodore ZB 1:06.1690 SS 00.6152
23  34  Wilson Security Racing GRM James Golding Holden Commodore ZB 1:06.1913 SS 00.6375
24   5  The Bottle-O Racing Team Mark Winterbottom Ford Falcon FG/X 1:06.2139 SS 00.6601
25   4  DRILLPRO Racing Macauley Jones Holden Commodore ZB 1:06.4314 SS 00.8776
26  56  MEGA Racing Richie Stanaway Ford Falcon FG/X 1:06.4599 SS 00.9061
27  35  Bigmate Racing Todd Hazelwood Ford Falcon FG/X 1:06.6948 SS 01.1410

Join the discussion below in the Speedcafe.com comments section

Please note: Speedcafe.com reserves the right to remove any comment that does not follow the comment policy. For support, contact [email protected]