Scott McLaughlin has become the first man to lap Sydney Motorsport Park under 1:28s in a Supercar as he qualified on Armor All Pole for the Red Rooster Sydney SuperNight 300.
McLaughlin (#17 FGX Falcon) denied Shell V-Power Racing team-mate Fabian Coulthard (#12 FGX Falcon) a first pole of 2018 when he jumped from sixth to first by clocking a 1:27.9494s with the chequered flag out on the final segment of knockout qualifying.
Coulthard had been competitive in both Parts 2 and 3 of qualifying and finished second in both.
He was provisionally on for an ironic pole, having been on top of the final part of qualifying with a 1:28.0573s which was slower than McLaughlin’s then-new practice record from Part 2.
McLaughlin, however, put paid to the anomaly with his 11th pole of the season.
“It was a little bit (of a pressure lap),” said the championship leader.
“I’m stoked for everyone here. The car was awesome (but) it was a tough qualifying session; I’m still getting used to those three-stage ones but I think they are great for the fans. It is so good to see so many people here for the night race.”
Shane van Gisbergen (#97 Red Bull HRT ZB Commodore) was one of five, including his two Triple Eight Race Engineering team-mates, to go all the way from the bottom 16 which started qualifying to the top 10 which finished it and ultimately qualified fifth, 0.1763s off pole.
Rick Kelly sat on the front row with Coulthard before the other Kiwis in McLaughlin and van Gisbergen bumped him back to fourth in the #15 Castrol Nissan Altima.
Jamie Whincup (#1 Triple Eight ZB Commodore) qualified fifth after deciding to not go for a second run in the final phase of qualifying, at which time he has been second-fastest, in order to save a new set of tyres.
The 2017 champion had earned his passage from Part 1 of qualifying with a brief practice record lap of 1:28.1213s straight out of the box in the #1 Red Bull HRT ZB Commodore, which was usurped by van Gisbergen before the first appearance of the chequered flag.
He will line up alongside Scott Pye (#2 Mobil 1 Boost Mobile ZB Commodore), and directly in front of Chaz Mostert (#55 Supercheap Auto Racing FGX Falcon).
“We felt like we did a pretty good job on the first set and we had to use the extra sets to get into Q3,” said Whincup.
“We are not at a tyre disadvantage at the moment (but) if we used the last set we would have been. To be P5 we couldn’t be happier. I think it (extra tyres for the race) will help I don’t know how much it will help in the night conditions.”
The next three of David Reynolds (#9 Penrite ZB Commodore), Craig Lowndes (#888 Autobarn ZB Commodore), and Michael Caruso (#23 Drive Nissan Altima) all came from Part 1 of qualifying.
Caruso sat outside the top six after the first runs of Part 1 and was the only mover into the cut, but bumped Nissan Motorsport team-mate Andre Heimgartner (#7 Plus Fitness Nissan Altima) out in the process.
James Courtney (#25 Walkinshaw Andretti United ZB Commodore) starts 11th, James Golding (#34 Wilson Security ZB Commodore) a personal-best 13th as a solo driver, and Mark Winterbottom (#5 The Bottle-O FGX Falcon) 14th.
The Virgin Australia Supercars Championship field will tackle 77 laps of Sydney Motorsport Park under lights tonight from 1920 AEST.
Result: Supercars Armor All Qualifying Race 21
|1||17 Shell V-Power Racing Team||Scott McLaughlin||Ford Falcon FG/X||1:27.9494RSS Q3|
|2||12 Shell V-Power Racing Team||Fabian Coulthard||Ford Falcon FG/X||1:28.0573rSS Q3||00.1079|
|3||97 Red Bull Holden Racing Team||Shane Van Gisbergen||Holden Commodore ZB||1:28.1257rSS Q3||00.1763|
|4||15 Castrol Racing||Rick Kelly||Nissan Altima||1:28.1521rSS Q3||00.2027|
|5||1 Red Bull Holden Racing Team||Jamie Whincup||Holden Commodore ZB||1:28.1930rSS Q3||00.2436|
|6||2 Mobil 1 Boost Mobile Racing||Scott Pye||Holden Commodore ZB||1:28.2179rSS Q3||00.2685|
|7||55 Supercheap Auto Racing||Chaz Mostert||Ford Falcon FG/X||1:28.3929 SS Q3||00.4435|
|8||9 Erebus Penrite Racing||David Reynolds||Holden Commodore ZB||1:28.4712 SS Q3||00.5218|
|9||888 Autobarn Lowndes Racing||Craig Lowndes||Holden Commodore ZB||1:28.5306 SS Q3||00.5812|
|10||23 Drive Racing||Michael Caruso||Nissan Altima||1:28.5881 SS Q3||00.6387|
|11||25 Mobil 1 Boost Mobile Racing||James Courtney||Holden Commodore ZB||1:28.6982 SS Q2||00.7488|
|12||14 Freightliner Racing||Tim Slade||Holden Commodore ZB||1:28.7224 SS Q2||00.7730|
|13||34 Wilson Security Racing GRM||James Golding||Holden Commodore ZB||1:28.7976 SS Q2||00.8482|
|14||5 The Bottle-O Racing Team||Mark Winterbottom||Ford Falcon FG/X||1:28.9033 SS Q2||00.9539|
|15||19 Tekno Autosport||Jack Le Brocq||Holden Commodore ZB||1:28.9146 SS Q2||00.9652|
|16||6 Monster Energy Racing||Cameron Waters||Ford Falcon FG/X||1:29.2290 SS Q2||01.2796|
|17||7 Plus Fitness Racing||Andre Heimgartner||Nissan Altima||1:28.6040 SS Q1||00.6546|
|18||99 Erebus Thermosphere Racing||Anton de Pasquale||Holden Commodore ZB||1:28.6067 SS Q1||00.6573|
|19||230 Milwaukee Racing||Will Davison||Ford Falcon FG/X||1:28.6236 SS Q1||00.6742|
|20||18 Preston Hire Racing||Lee Holdsworth||Holden Commodore ZB||1:28.7293 SS Q1||00.7799|
|21||8 Team Mrs Mac’s powered by Dare||Nick Percat||Holden Commodore ZB||1:28.7665 SS Q1||00.8171|
|22||33 Wilson Security Racing GRM||Garth Tander||Holden Commodore ZB||1:28.8373 SS Q!||00.8879|
|23||78 Team Harvey Norman||Simona De Silvestro||Nissan Altima||1:28.8661 SS Q1||00.9167|
|24||56 RABBLE.club Racing||Richie Stanaway||Ford Falcon FG/X||1:29.0648 SS Q1||01.1154|
|25||21 Team CoolDrive||Tim Blanchard||Holden Commodore ZB||1:29.1599 SS Q1||01.2105|
|26||35 Bigmate Racing||Todd Hazelwood||Ford Falcon FG/X||1:29.3171 SS Q1||01.3677|