Jamie Whincup and Scott McLaughlin have qualified on pole for Races 8 and 9 respectively at the BP Ultimate Sydney SuperSprint, the latter in record time.
McLaughlin, who was also quickest in the Top 15 Shootout a day earlier, was third in this morning’s first 15-minute session at only 0.0648s behind Whincup.
In the hit-out which set the grid for the weekend finale at Sydney Motorsport Park, the championship leader blazed to a 1:27.9193s in the #17 Shell V-Power Mustang.
Whincup and fellow Red Bull Holden Racing Team driver Shane van Gisbergen ensured that the top three drivers would be the same in each session, albeit in slightly different order.
The former scored pole for Race 8 with a 1:28.0756s, a mere 0.0120s faster than his team-mate, and was 0.1118s quicker than van Gisbergen to earn the outside front row berth for Race 9.
Qualifying for Race 8
The battle for the day’s first pole was decided by a single flyer for each driver at the end of the session, despite contrasting approaches at the outset.
McLaughlin briefly took top spot in the final minute with a 1:28.1404s but was quickly usurped by Whincup’s 1:28.0756s in the #88 ZB Commodore, before van Gisbergen split the most recent Supercars champions with a 1:28.0876s in his #97 ZB Commodore.
Fabian Coulthard will join his DJR Team Penske team-mate on the second row of the grid having clocked a 1:28.5546s in the #12 Mustang after being 21st ahead of the final runs.
Cameron Waters put his #6 Monster Energy Mustang fifth, ahead of Nick Percat (#8 Dunlop Super Dealer ZB Commodore), Chaz Mostert (#25 Mobil 1 Appliances Online ZB Commodore), Jack Le Brocq (#55 Supercheap Auto Mustang), and Andre Heimgartner (#7 Ned Mustang).
While Le Brocq and Heimgartner were among those who went onto the circuit for a second occasion before actually establishing a lap time, David Reynolds was held in the garage for several minutes.
He ended up 10th all told at 0.8967s off the pace in the #9 ZB Commodore, one position ahead of team-mate Anton De Pasquale in Car #99.
James Courtney (#44 Boost Mobile Mustang) finished the session in 15th while Scott Pye (#20 DeWalt ZB Commodore), in 17th, was the last within a second of pole.
Qualifying for Race 9
The limited tyre allocation for this weekend was a major factor in how Qualifying for Race 9 played out, with only seven drivers setting a lap time at least anywhere near representative in the first 10 minutes.
Todd Hazelwood (#14 Brut ZB Commodore) held sway with a 1:28.4413s before all of the big guns hit the track for what was effectively a shootout.
McLaughlin snipped barely three hundredths of a second off his old qualifying lap record of 1:27.9494s, set in 2018, while Whincup ended up 0.0926s off the pace with a 1:28.0119.
“I didn’t quite get the first lap right (Qualifying for Race 8), Jamie did a great job, P1 there,” said McLaughlin.
“I think we’re P3 for the first race (of the day), which is good, but then to get P1 in the last is good.
“Solid, consistent qualifying results is what we’re after, and certainly we were able to do that this weekend.”
Damp patches dotted the circuit after overnight rain, with McLaughlin reporting, “Just constantly kept drying up.
“It was really wet in a place that you didn’t want it; not really wet, just damp, and visually it’s quite hard to just go ‘I really need to go deep here because I know everyone else behind me is going to.’
“Being the pioneer’s quite hard, so I had half a dip but was probably a bit too safe on the first lap.”
Lee Holdsworth (#5 Truck Assist Mustang) will start on the outside of van Gisbergen on Row 2, while Hazelwood’s earlier effort stood up for fifth after the Brad Jones Racing steerer did not go again.
Waters was sixth, from Coulthard, Percat, Reynolds, and Bryce Fullwood (#2 Mobil 1 Middy’s ZB Commodore), who outqualified Walkinshaw Andretti United team-mate Chaz Mostert (#25 Mobil 1 Appliances Online ZB Commodore) by five positions.
It was again the top 17, this time rounded out by Rick Kelly (#15 Castrol Mustang), covered by a second, with Courtney 18th.
Race 8, a 32-lapper, is due to start at 12:15 local time/AEST.
Results: Qualifying for Race 8, BP Ultimate Sydney SuperSprint
|1||88||Red Bull Holden Racing Team||Jamie Whincup||Holden Commodore ZB||1:28.0756|
|2||97||Red Bull Holden Racing Team||Shane van Gisbergen||Holden Commodore ZB||1:28.0876||0:00.0120|
|3||17||Shell V-Power Racing Team||Scott McLaughlin||Ford Mustang GT||1:28.1404||0:00.0648|
|4||12||Shell V-Power Racing Team||Fabian Coulthard||Ford Mustang GT||1:28.5546||0:00.4790|
|5||6||Monster Energy Racing||Cameron Waters||Ford Mustang GT||1:28.6164||0:00.5408|
|6||8||Dunlop Super Dealer Racing||Nick Percat||Holden Commodore ZB||1:28.6452||0:00.5696|
|7||25||Mobil 1 Appliances Online||Chaz Mostert||Holden Commodore ZB||1:28.6572||0:00.5816|
|8||55||Supercheap Auto Racing||Jack Le Brocq||Ford Mustang GT||1:28.8613||0:00.7857|
|9||7||NED Whisky Racing||Andre Heimgartner||Ford Mustang GT||1:28.9541||0:00.8785|
|10||9||Penrite Racing||David Reynolds||Holden Commodore ZB||1:28.9723||0:00.8967|
|11||99||Penrite Racing||Anton De Pasquale||Holden Commodore ZB||1:28.9804||0:00.9048|
|12||18||IRWIN Racing||Mark Winterbottom||Holden Commodore ZB||1:28.9817||0:00.9061|
|13||5||Truck Assist Racing||Lee Holdsworth||Ford Mustang GT||1:28.9889||0:00.9133|
|14||2||Mobil 1 TM Middy’s Racing||Bryce Fullwood||Holden Commodore ZB||1:29.0137||0:00.9381|
|15||44||Boost Mobile Racing||James Courtney||Ford Mustang GT||1:29.0318||0:00.9562|
|16||15||Castrol Racing||Rick Kelly||Ford Mustang GT||1:29.0404||0:00.9648|
|17||20||DEWALT Racing||Scott Pye||Holden Commodore ZB||1:29.0580||0:00.9824|
|18||14||Brut Military Grade||Todd Hazelwood||Holden Commodore ZB||1:29.0819||0:01.0063|
|19||3||Team CoolDrive||Macauley Jones||Holden Commodore ZB||1:29.1887||0:01.1131|
|20||19||Local Legends Racing||Alex Davison||Holden Commodore ZB||1:29.4806||0:01.4050|
|21||22||Team SYDNEY||Chris Pither||Holden Commodore ZB||1:29.5199||0:01.4443|
|22||35||Yellow Cover Racing||Garry Jacobson||Holden Commodore ZB||1:29.7979||0:01.7223|
|23||34||UNIT Racing||Jake Kostecki||Holden Commodore ZB||1:30.1221||0:02.0465|
|24||4||SCT Motor Sports||Jack Smith||Holden Commodore ZB||1:33.5673||0:05.4917|
Results: Qualifying for Race 9, BP Ultimate Sydney SuperSprint
|1||17||Shell V-Power Racing Team||Scott McLaughlin||Ford Mustang GT||1:27.9193|
|2||88||Red Bull Holden Racing Team||Jamie Whincup||Holden Commodore ZB||1:28.0119||0:00.0926|
|3||97||Red Bull Holden Racing Team||Shane van Gisbergen||Holden Commodore ZB||1:28.1237||0:00.2044|
|4||5||Truck Assist Racing||Lee Holdsworth||Ford Mustang GT||1:28.4111||0:00.4918|
|5||14||Brut Military Grade||Todd Hazelwood||Holden Commodore ZB||1:28.4413||0:00.5220|
|6||6||Monster Energy Racing||Cameron Waters||Ford Mustang GT||1:28.4457||0:00.5264|
|7||12||Shell V-Power Racing Team||Fabian Coulthard||Ford Mustang GT||1:28.4645||0:00.5452|
|8||8||Dunlop Super Dealer Racing||Nick Percat||Holden Commodore ZB||1:28.4962||0:00.5769|
|9||9||Penrite Racing||David Reynolds||Holden Commodore ZB||1:28.5634||0:00.6441|
|10||2||Mobil 1 TM Middy’s Racing||Bryce Fullwood||Holden Commodore ZB||1:28.6397||0:00.7204|
|11||18||IRWIN Racing||Mark Winterbottom||Holden Commodore ZB||1:28.6589||0:00.7396|
|12||55||Supercheap Auto Racing||Jack Le Brocq||Ford Mustang GT||1:28.6758||0:00.7565|
|13||7||NED Whisky Racing||Andre Heimgartner||Ford Mustang GT||1:28.6893||0:00.7700|
|14||99||Penrite Racing||Anton De Pasquale||Holden Commodore ZB||1:28.7000||0:00.7807|
|15||25||Mobil 1 Appliances Online||Chaz Mostert||Holden Commodore ZB||1:28.7382||0:00.8189|
|16||20||DEWALT Racing||Scott Pye||Holden Commodore ZB||1:28.9009||0:00.9816|
|17||15||Castrol Racing||Rick Kelly||Ford Mustang GT||1:28.9102||0:00.9909|
|18||44||Boost Mobile Racing||James Courtney||Ford Mustang GT||1:29.0127||0:01.0934|
|19||3||Team CoolDrive||Macauley Jones||Holden Commodore ZB||1:29.0316||0:01.1123|
|20||19||Local Legends Racing||Alex Davison||Holden Commodore ZB||1:29.1632||0:01.2439|
|21||35||Yellow Cover Racing||Garry Jacobson||Holden Commodore ZB||1:29.3290||0:01.4097|
|22||34||UNIT Racing||Jake Kostecki||Holden Commodore ZB||1:29.3766||0:01.4573|
|23||4||SCT Motor Sports||Jack Smith||Holden Commodore ZB||1:29.7805||0:01.8612|
|24||22||Team SYDNEY||Chris Pither||Holden Commodore ZB||8:44.8967||7:16.9774|