David Reynolds has qualified on provisional Armor All Pole for Race 29 at Pukekohe, finishing the session just ahead of Scott McLaughlin and Shane van Gisbergen.
Less than a tenth of a second covered the top four, rounded out by the Jamie Whincup, while McLaughlin will also be joined by his team-mate for this afternoon’s Top 10 Shootout after Fabian Coulthard went fifth-fastest.
Reynolds was fastest with a 1:02.7333s after the second runs, which were neatly curtailed when Todd Hazelwood ran off and got stuck in the Turn 4 tyre wall long enough for a red flag to be called, even though he eventually backed the #35 Bigmate VF Commodore out and drove back to the pits unassisted.
With an eye to the Shootout, the big guns waited longer than others to start their final runs, during which time Richie Stanaway elevated himself to third and then Coulthard to second after a late-night repair job on the #12 Shell V-Power FGX Falcon.
Van Gisbergen (#97 ZB Commodore) snipped less than two hundredths out of Reynolds’ then-best inside the final two minutes, despite a ragged exit from the final corner, before Reynolds reclaimed the mantle with a 1:02.6449s in the #9 Erebus Penrite ZB Commodore.
McLaughlin split them in the seconds which remained, wheeling the #17 DJR Team Penske FGX Falcon to a time just 0.0257s slower than provisional pole, but 0.0491s faster than his Virgin Australia Supercars Championship title rival.
His efforts meant that Whincup (#1 ZB Commodore), in the second of the Red Bull Holden Racing Team entries, moved back to fourth and Chaz Mostert (#55 Supercheap Auto FGX Falcon) to fifth.
“We’re still such a new team and every time we go out, we are learning lots,” said Reynolds.
“We learned some stuff from each tyre set there, it was really good, car has improved.
“We weren’t going to go out (in the final run) but we wanted to try some stuff for the Shootout and the race.
“It was just a bit better here and there and I was able to improve the time.”
McLaughlin said, “Everything is good, we’ll just keep pushing on.
“It’s going to be a tough Shootout lap; doing it on your first lap is tough to do here.”
Van Gisbergen didn’t realise that he needed to push so hard when he dropped a wheel onto the grass on his fastest lap.
“You never know where you’re going to end up, it was pretty loose and then yesterday trying to do it (final corner) to get the five seconds (make up for penalty),” he recounted.
“I didn’t know we were clear so I didn’t need to do it. Five Kiwis in the Shootout, how good is that?”
Coulthard’s lap which had him temporarily second stood up for sixth position at the end of the 20-minute stanza, while Stanaway (#56 Rabble.Club FGX Falcon) similarly remained in the Shootout in eighth.
That was because Anton De Pasquale, who was already in the top 10 when he bumped Craig Lowndes out, gained two positions with the chequered flag out.
Coulthard paid tribute to his DJR Team Penske crew.
“It’s a credit to my boys; basically, without them putting in the hours last night I wouldn’t be out on track,” he remarked.
“Try and repay them somehow, try and get through Sunday. We had a reasonable Sunday here last year so fingers crossed it will be like that today.”
Cameron Waters made it three Tickford cars in the Shootout in the #6 Monster Energy FGX Falcon, while Mark Winterbottom was 14th in the #5 The Bottle-O FGX Falcon.
Andre Heimgartner (#7 Plus Fitness Nissan Altima) was best of the Nissan Motorsport entries in 10th, meaning that all five New Zealanders will be in the one-lap dash at Pukekohe.
Lowndes (#888 National Storage ZB Commodore) was the first man on the outer, the Boost Mobile ZB Commodores were 20th and 21st (Scott Pye in #2 and James Courtney in #25, respectively), and Hazelwood ended up at the foot of the timesheets after his off.
The Top 10 Shootout follows at 1355 local time/1155 AEDT before the conclusion of the ITM Auckland SuperSprint later in the afternoon.
Results: Armor All Qualifying for Race 29
|1||9||Erebus Penrite Racing||David Reynolds||Holden Commodore ZB||1:02.6449|
|2||17||Shell V-Power Racing Team||Scott McLaughlin||Ford Falcon FG/X||1:02.6706||0:00.0257|
|3||97||Red Bull Holden Racing Team||Shane van Gisbergen||Holden Commodore ZB||1:02.7197||0:00.0748|
|4||1||Red Bull Holden Racing Team||Jamie Whincup||Holden Commodore ZB||1:02.7224||0:00.0775|
|5||55||Supercheap Auto Racing||Chaz Mostert||Ford Falcon FG/X||1:02.7753||0:00.1304|
|6||12||Shell V-Power Racing Team||Fabian Coulthard||Ford Falcon FG/X||1:02.8428||0:00.1979|
|7||99||Erebus Thermosphere Racing||Anton De Pasquale||Holden Commodore ZB||1:02.8483||0:00.2034|
|8||56||RABBLE.club Racing||Richie Stanaway||Ford Falcon FG/X||1:02.8648||0:00.2199|
|9||6||Monster Energy Racing||Cameron Waters||Ford Falcon FG/X||1:02.8750||0:00.2301|
|10||7||Plus Fitness Racing||Andre Heimgartner||Nissan Altima||1:02.9015||0:00.2566|
|11||888||Autobarn Lowndes Racing||Craig Lowndes||Holden Commodore ZB||1:02.9226||0:00.2777|
|12||14||COREGAS NZ RACING||Tim Slade||Holden Commodore ZB||1:02.9230||0:00.2781|
|13||8||COREGAS NZ RACING||Nick Percat||Holden Commodore ZB||1:03.0480||0:00.4031|
|14||5||The Bottle-O Racing Team||Mark Winterbottom||Ford Falcon FG/X||1:03.0507||0:00.4058|
|15||21||Team CoolDrive||Tim Blanchard||Holden Commodore ZB||1:03.1316||0:00.4867|
|16||78||Team Harvey Norman||Simona de Silvestro||Nissan Altima||1:03.1411||0:00.4962|
|17||15||Castrol Racing||Rick Kelly||Nissan Altima||1:03.1506||0:00.5057|
|18||18||Preston Hire Racing||Lee Holdsworth||Holden Commodore ZB||1:03.1936||0:00.5487|
|19||23||Drive Racing||Michael Caruso||Nissan Altima||1:03.1995||0:00.5546|
|20||2||Mobil 1 Boost Mobile Racing||Scott Pye||Holden Commodore ZB||1:03.2345||0:00.5896|
|21||25||Mobil 1 Boost Mobile Racing||James Courtney||Holden Commodore ZB||1:03.2491||0:00.6042|
|22||230||Milwaukee Racing||Will Davison||Ford Falcon FG/X||1:03.3083||0:00.6634|
|23||33||Wilson Security Racing GRM||Garth Tander||Holden Commodore ZB||1:03.3175||0:00.6726|
|24||34||Wilson Security Racing GRM||James Golding||Holden Commodore ZB||1:03.3603||0:00.7154|
|25||19||Tekno Autosports||Jack Le Brocq||Holden Commodore ZB||1:03.4598||0:00.8149|
|26||35||Bigmate Racing||Todd Hazelwood||Holden Commodore VF2||1:03.8649||0:01.2200|