Scott McLaughlin went fastest in the Top 10 Shootout which decided the grid for Race 22 in Townsville, six spots up on key title rival Jamie Whincup.
The Shell V-Power Racing Team driver was last out for the one-lap dash at the Robson Civil Projects Townsville SuperSprint and bettered previous fast man Shane van Gisbergen by a relatively hefty 0.2160s.
McLaughlin set the fastest first and second sectors in an impressive 1:12.0144s in the #17 Mustang, while van Gisbergen made the front row with a 1:12.2304s despite missing the apex at Turn 11 in the #97 ZB Commodore.
The latter’s Red Bull Holden team-mate, Whincup (#88 ZB Commodore), had provisionally qualified second but dropped to seventh with a 1:12.4160s after a big rear locking moment into Turn 3 and a not especially tidy middle sector.
Said the pole-sitter, “I’m really proud. That one was a really hard-fought one from the team.
“We’ve not had the best car last week but we battled on and found a really good balance today and had a big focus. I’m really proud of them, this is all credit to the guys.”
Third-fastest was Tickford Racing’s Cameron Waters (#6 Monster Energy Mustang), who set a 1:12.2682s, and fourth belongs to Penrite Racing’s Anton De Pasquale (#99 ZB Commodore) courtesy of a 1:12.2981s.
De Pasquale was also best of those who did not run with new tyres on all corners of his car, Erebus Motorsport having opted for roaded fronts for he and team-mate David Reynolds.
Chaz Mostert ended up fifth with a 1:12.3069s in the #25 Mobil 1 Appliances Online ZB Commodore, and the fastest final sector.
Mostert will share Row 3 with Todd Hazelwood, who put in a 1:12.3413s despite going just wide of the line through Turn 11 in the #14 Black Duck ZB Commodore.
Another Brad Jones Racing entry is on Row 4, Nick Percat (#8 R&J Batteries ZB Commodore) on the outside of Whincup having logged a 1:12.4733s.
Jack Le Brocq (#55 Supercheap Auto Mustang) ended up ninth with a 1:12.5526s and Reynolds 10th(#9 ZB Commodore) 10th with a 1:12.5679s, the same positions in which they had provisionally qualified.
Qualifying for Race 22
McLaughlin was quickest in both 10-minutes parts of qualifying which preceded the shootout, initially with a 1:12.3983s then a 1:12.2249s.
In the latter, the DJR Team Penske driver was 0.0121s faster than Whincup and 0.0270s better than the other Triple Eight Race Engineering entry of van Gisbergen.
Bryce Fullwood was provisionally into the one-lap dash until De Pasquale moved into fifth with his only flyer of the stanza, consigning the #2 Mobil 1 Middy’s ZB Commodore to 11th on the starting grid.
The rest of the top 20 was Fabian Coulthard (Shell V-Power Racing Team), Lee Holdsworth (#5 Truck Assist Mustang), James Courtney (#44 Boost Mobile Mustang), Andre Heimgartner (#7 Ned Mustang), Mark Winterbottom (#18 Irwin Tools ZB Commodore), Scott Pye (#20 DeWalt ZB Commodore), Alex Davison (#19 Local Legends ZB Commodore), Macauley Jones (#3 CoolDrive ZB Commodore), and Garry Jacobson (#35 Yellow Cover ZB Commodore).
According to Coulthard, he simply ran out of time to go for a second run after a set-up change to the #12 Mustang, and Holdsworth’s car would be seen undergoing an apparent engine change as the Top 10 Shootout concluded.
One Kelly Racing driver knocked another out in Part 1 of qualifying when Heimgartner jumped nine spots to 13th with the chequered flag out, pushing Rick Kelly (#15 Castrol Mustang) back to 21st.
Kelly is set to share Row 11 of the grid with Jack Smith (#4 SCT Logistics ZB Commodore), ahead of Jake Kostecki (#34 Unit ZB Commodore) and Chris Pither (#22 Coca-Cola ZB Commodore).
Race 22 of the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship, a 39-lapper, is due at 15:40 local time/AEST.
Results: Qualifying/Top 10 Shootout for Race 22, Robson Civil Projects Townsville SuperSprint
|1||17||Shell V-Power Racing Team||Scott McLaughlin||Ford Mustang GT||1:12.0144|
|2||97||Red Bull Holden Racing Team||Shane van Gisbergen||Holden Commodore ZB||1:12.2304||0:00.2160|
|3||6||Monster Energy Racing||Cameron Waters||Ford Mustang GT||1:12.2682||0:00.2538|
|4||99||Penrite Racing||Anton De Pasquale||Holden Commodore ZB||1:12.2981||0:00.2837|
|5||25||Mobil 1 Appliances Online||Chaz Mostert||Holden Commodore ZB||1:12.3069||0:00.2925|
|6||14||Team Black Duck||Todd Hazelwood||Holden Commodore ZB||1:12.3413||0:00.3269|
|7||88||Red Bull Holden Racing Team||Jamie Whincup||Holden Commodore ZB||1:12.4160||0:00.4016|
|8||8||R&J Batteries||Nick Percat||Holden Commodore ZB||1:12.4733||0:00.4589|
|9||55||Supercheap Auto Racing||Jack Le Brocq||Ford Mustang GT||1:12.5526||0:00.5382|
|10||9||Penrite Racing||David Reynolds||Holden Commodore ZB||1:12.5679||0:00.5535|
|11||2||Mobil 1 TM Middy’s Racing||Bryce Fullwood||Holden Commodore ZB||1:12.5838||Part 2|
|12||12||Shell V-Power Racing Team||Fabian Coulthard||Ford Mustang GT||1:12.6514||Part 2|
|13||5||Truck Assist Racing||Lee Holdsworth||Ford Mustang GT||1:12.6699||Part 2|
|14||44||Boost Mobile Racing||James Courtney||Ford Mustang GT||1:12.7021||Part 2|
|15||7||NED Whisky Racing||Andre Heimgartner||Ford Mustang GT||1:12.7321||Part 2|
|16||18||IRWIN Racing||Mark Winterbottom||Holden Commodore ZB||1:12.7616||Part 2|
|17||20||DEWALT Racing||Scott Pye||Holden Commodore ZB||1:12.7674||Part 2|
|18||19||Local Legends Racing||Alex Davison||Holden Commodore ZB||1:12.7917||Part 2|
|19||3||Team CoolDrive||Macauley Jones||Holden Commodore ZB||1:12.8888||Part 2|
|20||35||Yellow Cover Racing||Garry Jacobson||Holden Commodore ZB||1:12.9557||Part 2|
|21||15||Castrol Racing||Rick Kelly||Ford Mustang GT||1:13.0157||Part 1|
|22||4||SCT Motor Sports||Jack Smith||Holden Commodore ZB||1:13.0781||Part 1|
|23||34||UNIT Racing||Jake Kostecki||Holden Commodore ZB||1:13.1681||Part 1|
|24||22||Team SYDNEY||Chris Pither||Holden Commodore ZB||1:13.4513||Part 1|