WTCR star driver Jean-Karl Vernay has pipped John Martin by the narrowest of margins to claim pole position in a hotly contested TCR Australia qualifying session at Queensland Raceway.
The 30 minute hit-out saw four drivers enjoy spells at the top of the timesheets but it was 2017 TCR International Series champion Vernay, who took pole by 0.0060s, while the top five were covered by 0.1s.
Vernay had put the #4 Audi RS3 on provisional pole just shortly after halfway before that time was eclipsed by Dylan O’Keeffe (Ash Seward, Alfa Romeo), Will Brown (HMO Customer Racing Hyundai) and Martin (Wall Racing, Honda), who all briefly held pole.
The Frenchman returned to the top spot with two minutes remaining with a 1:12.94s effort.
Martin was left to settle for second with series leader Brown in third only 0.04s shy of the Audi driver.
Having set the pace early on, O’Keeffe will line up for this afternoon’s race in fourth.
Former Supercars champion Russell Ingall enjoyed his most competitive session to date to secure fifth on the grid, just a tenth adrift of the pace in the Castrol-backed #100 Audi RS3.
Tony D’Alberto was sixth in the #50 Wall Racing Honda Civic Type R ahead of the Volkswagen Golf of Aaron Cameron.
The top 10 were completed by Garry Rogers Motorsport’s new recruit Jordan Cox (Alfa Romeo), James Moffat (Garry Rogers Motorsport, Renault) and Andre Heimgartner (Kelly Racing, Opel Astra).
The series’ inaugural race winner Jason Bright was late to venture out in the session after his Alliance Autosport Volkswagen suffered a gearbox issue.
After joining the session with 15 minutes remaining, the former Supercheap Auto Bathurst winner went on to claim 15th spot.
TCR Australia Race 1 is scheduled for 1415 AEST.
Results: TCR Australia Qualifying, Queensland Raceway
|1||4||Jean-Karl Vernay (FRA)||Melbourne Performance Centre||Audi RS 3||1:12.9418|
|2||24||John Martin (NSW)||Wall Racing||Honda Civic Type R||1:12.9478||00.0060|
|3||30||William Brown (Qld)||HMO Customer Racing||Hyundai i30N||1:12.9897||00.0479|
|4||9||Dylan O’Keeffe (Vic)||Ashley Seward Motorsport||Alfa Romeo Giulietta||1:12.9924||00.0506|
|5||100||Russell Ingall (Qld)||Melbourne Performance Centre||Audi RS 3||1:13.0536||00.1118|
|6||50||Tony D’Alberto (Vic)||Wall Racing||Honda Civic Type R||1:13.1198||00.1780|
|7||2||Aaron Cameron (Vic)||Melbourne Performance Centre||Volkswagen Golf GTI||1:13.1395||00.1977|
|8||7||Jordan Cox (NSW)||Garry Rogers Motorsport||Alfa Romeo Giulietta||1:13.2240||00.2822|
|9||34||James Moffat (Vic)||Garry Rogers Motorsport||Renault Megane RS||1:13.3833||00.4415|
|10||777||Andre Heimgartner (NZ)||Kelly Racing||Holden Astra||1:13.4765||00.5347|
|11||11||Nathan Morcom (NSW)||HMO Customer Racing||Hyundai i30N||1:13.5494||00.6076|
|12||62||Alex Rullo (WA)||Kelly Racing||Holden Astra||1:13.6128||00.6710|
|13||3||Leanne Tander (Vic)||Melbourne Performance Centre||Audi RS 3||1:13.9752||01.0334|
|14||33||Chris Pither (NZ)||Garry Rogers Motorsport||Renault Megane RS||1:14.1699||01.2281|
|15||8||Jason Bright (Vic)||Taskforce / Alliance Autosport||Volkswagon Golf GTI||1:14.4994||01.5576|
|16||38||Jordan Michels (NZ)||Wall Racing||Honda Civic Type R||1:14.7237||01.7819|
|17||35||Alexandra Whitley (Qld)||Alliance Autosport||Volkswagon Golf GTI||1:14.9432||02.0014|
|18||6||Molly Taylor (NSW)||Kelly Racing||Subaru WRX STi||1:15.3845||02.4427|