Shane van Gisbergen has snatched Armor All Pole Position for Supercars Championship Race 23 with a new qualifying lap record time at Pukekohe Park Raceway.
The Red Bull Holden Racing Team driver denied Tickford Racing a clean sweep of all four sessions so far at the ITM Auckland SuperSprint when he laid down a 1:01.5480s right at the death in the #97 ZB Commodore.
Van Gisbergen’s efforts on home soil relegated Cameron Waters (#6 Monster Energy Mustang) to the outside of the front row by 0.1506s, with Row 2 instead locked out by Tickford cars as Will Davison (#23 Milwaukee Mustang) finished third fastest and Chaz Mostert (#55 Supercheap Auto Mustang) fourth.
There were in fact five Fords in the top six, with Shell V-Power Racing Team’s Fabian Coulthard and Scott McLaughlin to share the third row in fifth and sixth respectively.
Van Gisbergen was fifth at the end of the first runs in a 20-minute session which was run under predominantly grey skies, then moved into first position with a 1:01.7537s on his second run.
It looked as they the New Zealander might have messed up his chance at Armor All Pole Position when he broke into a slide through Turn 6 on his final run, but he regrouped on the following lap to jump from third position back into first with the chequered flag out.
“Just fired up man, there’s nothing like racing at home,” said van Gisbergen.
“All the people here cheering us on, it’s such a cool feeling. Bloody awesome day, thanks.
“My first lap was really good; first lap of the second run I mucked up and pulled it together for the last one. Yeah, super stoked.
“The race is going to be tough though, bunch of those Fords behind us, the weather coming, it’s going to be a tough one. Hopefully we can put on a good show.”
Waters had led team-mate Mostert by less than a tenth of a second with a 1:01.9299s after the first runs, and fired back into provisional pole with a 1:01.6986s just before the chequered flag came out.
That was ultimately good enough for second position as Davison came up 0.0527s short, and Mostert only another 0.0291s slower again, continuing Tickford’s strong performance at Pukekohe this weekend.
Waters described his lap as “bloody awesome”.
“I nailed all my sectors, yeah awesome job to Shane to get the pole here in front of his home crowd,” he added.
“That was the best the car’s felt all weekend; yeah, much happier.”
The margin between Mostert and fellow Ford driver Coulthard was even tighter again with just 0.0214s between the #55 Mustang and #12 Mustang, while McLaughlin (#17 Mustang) was the last driver within three tenths of pole.
“Unfortunately, we’re just not quite there,” lamented McLaughlin, the runaway championship leader.
“Need to work a little bit more on the set-up or whatever. Little bit of me, little bit of the car; we’ll get there though.
“I’m really struggling getting off the corner, like the slow-speed traction wise. So (Turn) 4, Turn 6 and the Hairpin. Just trying to get the grip and go.
“Hey, we’ll see, long race to go, I think there will be a bit of rain too so we’ll have some fun.”
David Reynolds (#9 Penrite ZB Commodore) snuck up to seventh at the end and Lee Holdsworth (#5 The Bottle-O Mustang), previous holder of a practice/qualifying lap record which lasted a day, finished eighth in the last of the Tickford cars.
Anton De Pasquale (#99 Erebus ZB Commodore) and Nick Percat (#8 NZ Safety Blackwoods ZB Commodore) rounded out the top 10, while Triple Eight Race Engineering’s Jamie Whincup (#88 ZB Commodore) will start on the outside of Scott Pye (#2 Mobil 1 ZB Commodore) on Row 6.
Andre Heimgartner (#7 Kelly Racing Altima) was fastest of the Nissan drivers in 16th, 0.6990s off the pace, as Rick Kelly ended the session in 22nd in the #15 Castrol Altima, and the last driver within a second of pole.
Race 23 of the 2019 Virgin Australia Supercars Championship, scheduled for 70 laps/200km, is due to start at 1610 local time/1410 AEST.
Results: Armor All Qualifying for Race 23
|1||97||Red Bull Holden Racing Team||Shane van Gisbergen||Holden Commodore ZB||1:01.5480|
|2||6||Monster Energy Racing Team||Cameron Waters||Ford Mustang GT||1:01.6986||0:00.1506|
|3||23||Milwaukee Racing||Will Davison||Ford Mustang GT||1:01.7513||0:00.2033|
|4||55||Supercheap Auto Racing||Chaz Mostert||Ford Mustang GT||1:01.7804||0:00.2324|
|5||12||Shell V-Power Racing Team||Fabian Coulthard||Ford Mustang GT||1:01.8018||0:00.2538|
|6||17||Shell V-Power Racing Team||Scott McLaughlin||Ford Mustang GT||1:01.8461||0:00.2981|
|7||9||Penrite Racing||David Reynolds||Holden Commodore ZB||1:01.9151||0:00.3671|
|8||5||The Bottle-O Racing Team||Lee Holdsworth||Ford Mustang GT||1:01.9338||0:00.3858|
|9||99||Penrite Racing||Anton De Pasquale||Holden Commodore ZB||1:02.0445||0:00.4965|
|10||8||NZ Safety Blackwoods Racing||Nick Percat||Holden Commodore ZB||1:02.0786||0:00.5306|
|11||2||Mobil 1 Racing||Scott Pye||Holden Commodore ZB||1:02.1043||0:00.5563|
|12||88||Red Bull Holden Racing Team||Jamie Whincup||Holden Commodore ZB||1:02.1251||0:00.5771|
|13||14||Machinery House Racing||Tim Slade||Holden Commodore ZB||1:02.1477||0:00.5997|
|14||33||Boost Mobile Racing||Richie Stanaway||Holden Commodore ZB||1:02.1694||0:00.6214|
|15||18||Irwin Racing||Mark Winterbottom||Holden Commodore ZB||1:02.1829||0:00.6349|
|16||7||Plus Fitness Racing||Andre Heimgartner||Nissan Altima||1:02.2470||0:00.6990|
|17||3||RABBLE.club Racing||Garry Jacobson||Nissan Altima||1:02.2680||0:00.7200|
|18||34||Boost Mobile Racing||James Golding||Holden Commodore ZB||1:02.2712||0:00.7232|
|19||22||Mobil 1 Racing||James Courtney||Holden Commodore ZB||1:02.3129||0:00.7649|
|20||35||Bigmate Racing||Todd Hazelwood||Holden Commodore ZB||1:02.3532||0:00.8052|
|21||21||Team CoolDrive||Macauley Jones||Holden Commodore ZB||1:02.3648||0:00.8168|
|22||15||Castrol Racing||Rick Kelly||Nissan Altima||1:02.4633||0:00.9153|
|23||78||Team Harvey Norman||Simona De Silvestro||Nissan Altima||1:02.6325||0:01.0845|
|24||19||Truck Assist TEKNO Racing||Jack Le Brocq||Holden Commodore ZB||1:03.1087||0:01.5607|