Scott McLaughlin has qualified on Armor All Pole Position for Race 9 at the WD-40 Phillip Island SuperSprint by almost 0.6s as Jamie Whincup could only manage 17th on the grid.
For the third session in a row it was the two Shell V-Power Racing Fords at the top of the timing screen but, unlike the tightness of the preceding practice sessions, the margin between McLaughlin and Fabian Coulthard was 0.5822s.
McLaughlin clocked a 1:29.2292s on his first flyer in the final part of knockout qualifying and didn’t bother trying to set another lap time in the #17 Mustang, making for a record seventh pole in a row for the Kiwi at the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit.
Coulthard tried to improve on his first run and while he could not do so, the #12 Mustang was still almost three tenths up on the rest of the field as Chaz Mostert took third in Tickford Racing’s #55 Supercheap Auto Mustang.
“Thanks to my team, awesome car, that last lap was just… I said to them I don’t want to go out again, literally the fastest I can go,” said McLaughlin.
“Really happy with that 29.2, front row lockout for all of us at Shell V-Power Racing, so a lot of hard work had gone on behind the scenes. We’ll push on for the race.
“The lap was awesome, had a really good run. Obviously there’s bits and pieces I can work on; replicating that would have been quite hard.
“I’m really happy, it’s a solid starting point and hopefully we’ll just keep banking some points.”
Whincup, however, was never in the all-important top four during the first part of the session, taking up fifth position on his first flying lap after a warm up run.
Onboard vision showed the seven-time champion sawing at the steering wheel of the #88 Red Bull HRT ZB Commodore through the Southern Loop on that lap and the seven hundredths he gained next time around was not enough to improve his position.
That was all the time he had to try and set a fast enough lap, before he was bundled back further by Scott Pye and Mark Winterbottom.
“We maximised the car, you know, we don’t deserve to be in Q2,” said Whincup.
“Can’t remember a car with so little grip than that; I have to go back 15 years I reckon.
“No, we’re really struggling this weekend, we struggled at the (pre-season) test day, really struggling here this weekend. No performance, so what do you do, just got to keep working.
“I knew I didn’t have the grip; was just praying to scrape through. Wasn’t to be.”
Two Kelly Racing entries made the final part of qualifying and it was Andre Heimgartner leading the way for the Nissans with a 1:30.1429s in the #7 Plus Fitness Altima.
His boss Rick Kelly will start from sixth in the #15 Castrol Altima as the two were split by Will Davison in the #23 Milwaukee Mustang.
Cameron Waters (#6 Monster Energy Mustang) and leading Holden driver Pye (#200 Mobil 1 Mega ZB Commodore) will share the fourth row.
Shane van Gisbergen waited until right to the end of the final part of qualifying to venture onto the circuit but could only put himself ninth in the #97 Triple Eight ZB Commodore at 1.3768s off the pace.
He will start the ninth race of the 2019 Virgin Australia Supercars Championship alongside Triple Eight customer Matt Stone Racing’s #35 ZB Commodore of Todd Hazelwood.
Lee Holdsworth (#5 The Bottle-O Mustang) sat on the edge of the top 10 as Part 2 of the session drew to a close, but Davison managed to sneak back up a position and push his Tickford stablemate back to 11th on the grid.
The two Penrite Racing entries of David Reynolds (#9 ZB Commodore) and Anton De Pasquale (#99 ZB Commodore) follow, then Nick Percat (#8 7-Eleven ZB Commodore) in 14th after a wild ride through the final corner.
Winterbottom will line up 16th in the #18 Irwin Tools ZB Commodore having bumped Pye out of the top four cutoff in Part 1, only for Pye to return the favour after the chequered flag and then Tim Slade (#14 Alliance ZB Commodore) to slot into fifth at the time.
Race 9, to be run over 27 laps totalling 120km, starts this afternoon at 1550 local time/AEST.
Results: Armor All Qualifying for Race 9
|1||17||Shell V-Power Racing Team||Scott McLaughlin||Ford Mustang GT||1:29.2292|
|2||12||Shell V-Power Racing Team||Fabian Coulthard||Ford Mustang GT||1:29.8114||0:00.5822|
|3||55||Supercheap Auto Racing||Chaz Mostert||Ford Mustang GT||1:30.1031||0:00.8739|
|4||7||Plus Fitness Racing||Andre Heimgartner||Nissan Altima||1:30.1429||0:00.9137|
|5||23||Milwaukee Racing||Will Davison||Ford Mustang GT||1:30.2857||0:01.0565|
|6||15||Castrol Racing||Rick Kelly||Nissan Altima||1:30.3020||0:01.0728|
|7||6||Monster Energy Racing Team||Cameron Waters||Ford Mustang GT||1:30.4441||0:01.2149|
|8||200||Mobil 1 MEGA Racing||Scott Pye||Holden Commodore ZB||1:30.4899||0:01.2607|
|9||97||Red Bull Holden Racing Team||Shane van Gisbergen||Holden Commodore ZB||1:30.6060||0:01.3768|
|10||35||Bigmate Racing||Todd Hazelwood||Holden Commodore ZB||1:30.6662||0:01.4370|
|11||5||The Bottle-O Racing Team||Lee Holdsworth||Ford Mustang GT||1:30.6295||Part 2|
|12||9||Penrite Racing||David Reynolds||Holden Commodore ZB||1:30.7432||Part 2|
|13||99||Penrite Racing||Anton De Pasquale||Holden Commodore ZB||1:30.7866||Part 2|
|14||8||Brad Jones Racing||Nick Percat||Holden Commodore ZB||1:31.2873||Part 2|
|15||14||Freightliner Racing||Tim Slade||Holden Commodore ZB||1:30.9814||Part 1|
|16||18||IRWIN Racing||Mark Winterbottom||Holden Commodore ZB||1:30.9823||Part 1|
|17||88||Red Bull Holden Racing Team||Jamie Whincup||Holden Commodore ZB||1:31.2503||Part 1|
|18||22||Mobil 1 MEGA Racing||James Courtney||Holden Commodore ZB||1:31.2946||Part 1|
|19||33||Boost Mobile Racing||Richie Stanaway||Holden Commodore ZB||1:31.3256||Part 1|
|20||3||RABBLE.club Racing||Garry Jacobson||Nissan Altima||1:31.4948||Part 1|
|21||78||Team Harvey Norman||Simona De Silvestro||Nissan Altima||1:31.6399||Part 1|
|22||19||Truck Assist TEKNO Racing||Jack Le Brocq||Holden Commodore ZB||1:31.7738||Part 1|
|23||21||Team CoolDrive||Macauley Jones||Holden Commodore ZB||1:31.9718||Part 1|
|24||34||Boost Mobile Racing||James Golding||Holden Commodore ZB||5:35.3083||Part 1|