Jamie Whincup has provisionally taken Armor All Pole Position for Supercars Championship Race 24 at Pukekohe as Scott McLaughlin very nearly hit the wall in a high-speed spin.
McLaughlin got through to the Top 10 Shootout that will finalise the starting grid for this afternoon’s conclusion to the ITM Auckland SuperSprint, which Penrite Racing’s David Reynolds will start from 22nd position after he nosed into a tyre wall and could not extricate himself.
Whincup clocked a fastest lap of 1:01.5620s in the #88 Red Bull HRT ZB Commodore while Will Davison (#23 Milwaukee Mustang), Chaz Mostert (#55 Supercheap Auto Mustang), and Shane van Gisbergen (#97 Triple Eight ZB Commodore) all finished the session within a tenth of a second of the benchmark.
It was Whincup whose name was on the top of the timing screen at the end of each run, initially with a 1:01.9581s compared to McLaughlin’s 1:02.0010s when the circuit went quiet for the first time.
By the time the second runs had ended, Whincup was a whisker away from team-mate van Gisbergen’s day-old practice/qualifying record of 1:01.5480s, van Gisbergen himself was 0.0973s slower than Whincup, and McLaughlin was another 0.0821s back.
Mostert moved himself to second position just before a red flag was called when Reynolds made a mess of the run through Turns 2 and 3 and put the #9 ZB Commodore into the tyre wall, where he became stuck in the kitty litter.
Whincup left his cue in the rack when the session resumed, and it looked like Mostert, van Gisbergen, and McLaughlin were also going to wait on the sidelines with a Shootout to come.
However, the latter three ultimately chose to go again, as Davison consolidated his spot in the top 10 when he jumped from sixth to second with a 1:01.5909s.
In the final minute, McLaughlin understeered wide at the final corner and spun on grass which was wet from rain earlier in the morning.
On full lock, he managed to keep the #17 Shell V-Power Mustang off the concrete walls, escaping with what appeared to be only minor damage to the rear bar as he cleaned up a foam advertising sign.
“It was more arse than class,” said McLaughlin of the save.
“I needed to find a tenth and a half there so I just released the brake and got on the gas and just went too wide.
“Just building up to it, building up to it; I needed to find something there and was like ‘Stuff it, I’ll have a crack’. Then I just got on the wet grass. Was lucky, absolutely.
“This category, you’ve got to go hard and you’ve got to put your things on the line and have a crack.”
The championship leader ended up sixth due to a late improvement from Lee Holdsworth (#5 The Bottle-O Mustang), while his team-mate Fabian Coulthard was eighth in the #12 Mustang.
The DJR Team Penske duo were split by Nick Percat (#8 NZ Safety Blackwoods ZB Commodore), while Mark Winterbottom (#18 Irwin Tools ZB Commodore) and Cameron Waters (#6 Monster Energy Mustang) rounded out the top 10.
Andre Heimgartner (#7 Kelly Racing Altima) was first of the Nissans in 13th, a full seven positions ahead of next-best team-mate Rick Kelly (#15 Castrol Altima).
Both Erebus Motorsport entries missed the top 10 with Anton De Pasquale 14th in the #99 ZB Commodore.
Reynolds, who was 15th at the time of his crash and 20th once his best time had been taken away, said of his mishap: “Obviously I ran out of luck, or talent.
“I’m not sure, but I had a lot of luck yesterday, had to run out at some point.
“Maybe had too little temperature in that right-front so as soon as I tipped it in I knew I was in a bit of shit. I just feel terrible for the crew.”
The Armor All Top 10 Shootout follows at 1340 local time/1140 AEST.
Results: Armor All Qualifying for Race 24
|1||88||Red Bull Holden Racing Team||Jamie Whincup||Holden Commodore ZB||1:01.5620|
|2||23||Milwaukee Racing||Will Davison||Ford Mustang GT||1:01.5909||0:00.0289|
|3||55||Supercheap Auto Racing||Chaz Mostert||Ford Mustang GT||1:01.6314||0:00.0694|
|4||97||Red Bull Holden Racing Team||Shane van Gisbergen||Holden Commodore ZB||1:01.6593||0:00.0973|
|5||5||The Bottle-O Racing Team||Lee Holdsworth||Ford Mustang GT||1:01.7362||0:00.1742|
|6||17||Shell V-Power Racing Team||Scott McLaughlin||Ford Mustang GT||1:01.7414||0:00.1794|
|7||8||NZ Safety Blackwoods Racing||Nick Percat||Holden Commodore ZB||1:01.7916||0:00.2296|
|8||12||Shell V-Power Racing Team||Fabian Coulthard||Ford Mustang GT||1:01.8654||0:00.3034|
|9||18||Irwin Racing||Mark Winterbottom||Holden Commodore ZB||1:01.8762||0:00.3142|
|10||6||Monster Energy Racing Team||Cameron Waters||Ford Mustang GT||1:01.9078||0:00.3458|
|11||35||Bigmate Racing||Todd Hazelwood||Holden Commodore ZB||1:01.9210||0:00.3590|
|12||14||Machinery House Racing||Tim Slade||Holden Commodore ZB||1:01.9465||0:00.3845|
|13||7||Plus Fitness Racing||Andre Heimgartner||Nissan Altima||1:01.9697||0:00.4077|
|14||99||Penrite Racing||Anton De Pasquale||Holden Commodore ZB||1:02.0408||0:00.4788|
|15||34||Boost Mobile Racing||James Golding||Holden Commodore ZB||1:02.0437||0:00.4817|
|16||33||Boost Mobile Racing||Richie Stanaway||Holden Commodore ZB||1:02.0747||0:00.5127|
|17||2||Mobil 1 Racing||Scott Pye||Holden Commodore ZB||1:02.1329||0:00.5709|
|18||22||Mobil 1 Racing||James Courtney||Holden Commodore ZB||1:02.2171||0:00.6551|
|19||21||Team CoolDrive||Macauley Jones||Holden Commodore ZB||1:02.3003||0:00.7383|
|20||15||Castrol Racing||Rick Kelly||Nissan Altima||1:02.3484||0:00.7864|
|21||78||Team Harvey Norman||Simona De Silvestro||Nissan Altima||1:02.4197||0:00.8577|
|22||9||Penrite Racing||David Reynolds||Holden Commodore ZB||1:02.4999||0:00.9379|
|23||3||RABBLE.club Racing||Garry Jacobson||Nissan Altima||1:02.5196||0:00.9576|
|24||19||Truck Assist TEKNO Racing||Jack Le Brocq||Holden Commodore ZB||1:02.6650||0:01.1030|