Scott McLaughlin is the provisional Armor All Pole-sitter for Race 18 at the Watpac Townsville 400 while Jamie Whincup and Chaz Mostert missed Top 10 Shootout berths.
McLaughlin set the pace in the 20-minute session with a 1:12.1193s in the #17 Shell V-Power Mustang, which proved 0.1418s faster than David Reynolds’ best.
Reynolds’ fastest lap was in fact the lap which knocked Whincup out of the top 10, before the #88 Red Bull HRT ZB Commodore was pushed back another spot to 12th on the grid for Race 18 of the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship.
McLaughlin’s benchmark came at the halfway point of the session, on his second run, which saw him take top spot from Lee Holdsworth.
Reynolds was seventh ahead of the final runs but earned safe passage to the shootout with a 1:12.2611s after the chequered flag in the #9 Penrite ZB Commodore.
Todd Hazelwood put the #35 Matt Stone Racing ZB Commodore third on the timesheets, ahead of Shane van Gisbergen (#97 Triple Eight ZB Commodore) and Cameron Waters (#6 Monster Energy Mustang).
“That’s awesome,” exclaimed Hazelwood.
“Absolutely nailed that lap, threw the car on the line and the iseek Commodore is on rails.
“I just can’t thank the whole team at Matt Stone Racing enough for giving me the car to do it. Great turn overnight and pumped.”
Anton De Pasquale (#99 ZB Commodore) was sixth in the second Erebus entry, from James Courtney (#22 Mobil 1 Mega ZB Commodore), Fabian Coulthard (#333 DJR Team Penske Mustang), Holdsworth (#5 The Bottle-O Mustang), and Tim Slade (#14 Freightliner ZB Commodore).
Whincup was in trouble when De Pasquale and then Coulthard left him on the cusp of missing out on the top 10, and the seven-time champion couldn’t improve on the 1:12.5080s on his first proper run.
“We just took a massive swing with set-up which we have been all weekend,” explained Whincup.
“Car wasn’t as good then; I’d rather learn than anything. Disappointed to miss the shootout, but it all makes sense because we’re changing massively.”
Andre Heimgartner put more distance between the top 10 and Car #88 when he slotted the #7 Plus Fitness Altima into 11th, just 0.0244s slower than Slade.
Tickford stablemates Will Davison (#23 Milwaukee Mustang) and Mostert (#55 Supercheap Auto Mustang) were only 14th and 16th respectively,
The latter finished on the podium the afternoon earlier and explained that his crew changed set-up to try and chase McLaughlin.
“At the end of the day we’re trying to catch one car out there, one car’s doing a fantastic job and has had the benchmark on everyone all year,” said Mostert.
“This time of year, (we will) try some things on the car to really start to try and bridge that gap.
“Yesterday we had a pretty good car, didn’t quite have a good race car; today we thought we’d keep chasing the trend we wanted to. Yeah, just didn’t feel the car under me.”
The Armor All Top 10 Shootout starts at 1220 local time/AEST.
Results: Armor All Qualifying for Race 18
|1||17||Shell V-Power Racing Team||Scott McLaughlin||Ford Mustang GT||1:12.1193|
|2||9||Penrite Racing||David Reynolds||Holden Commodore ZB||1:12.2611||0:00.1418|
|3||35||Unit Racing||Todd Hazelwood||Holden Commodore ZB||1:12.3247||0:00.2054|
|4||97||Red Bull Holden Racing Team||Shane van Gisbergen||Holden Commodore ZB||1:12.3425||0:00.2232|
|5||6||Monster Energy Racing Team||Cameron Waters||Ford Mustang GT||1:12.3693||0:00.2500|
|6||99||Penrite Racing||Anton De Pasquale||Holden Commodore ZB||1:12.3837||0:00.2644|
|7||22||Mobil 1 MEGA Racing||James Courtney||Holden Commodore ZB||1:12.3934||0:00.2741|
|8||333||Shell V-Power Racing Team||Fabian Coulthard||Ford Mustang GT||1:12.3969||0:00.2776|
|9||5||The Bottle-O Racing Team||Lee Holdsworth||Ford Mustang GT||1:12.4363||0:00.3170|
|10||14||Freightliner Racing||Tim Slade||Holden Commodore ZB||1:12.4717||0:00.3524|
|11||7||Plus Fitness Racing||Andre Heimgartner||Nissan Altima||1:12.4961||0:00.3768|
|12||88||Red Bull Holden Racing Team||Jamie Whincup||Holden Commodore ZB||1:12.5080||0:00.3887|
|13||8||Elite Roads Racing||Nick Percat||Holden Commodore ZB||1:12.5082||0:00.3889|
|14||23||Milwaukee Racing||Will Davison||Ford Mustang GT||1:12.5156||0:00.3963|
|15||100||Castrol Racing||Rick Kelly||Nissan Altima||1:12.5623||0:00.4430|
|16||55||Supercheap Auto Racing||Chaz Mostert||Ford Mustang GT||1:12.5699||0:00.4506|
|17||2||Mobil 1 MEGA Racing||Scott Pye||Holden Commodore ZB||1:12.8011||0:00.6818|
|18||18||Irwin Racing||Mark Winterbottom||Holden Commodore ZB||1:12.8384||0:00.7191|
|19||21||Team CoolDrive||Macauley Jones||Holden Commodore ZB||1:12.9385||0:00.8192|
|20||34||Boost Mobile Racing||James Golding||Holden Commodore ZB||1:12.9573||0:00.8380|
|21||19||Truck Assist TEKNO Racing||Jack Le Brocq||Holden Commodore ZB||1:13.0503||0:00.9310|
|22||3||RABBLE.club Racing||Garry Jacobson||Nissan Altima||1:13.0964||0:00.9771|
|23||78||Team Harvey Norman||Simona De Silvestro||Nissan Altima||1:13.1006||0:00.9813|
|24||33||Boost Mobile Racing||Michael Caruso||Holden Commodore ZB||1:13.2570||0:01.1377|