Scott McLaughlin is a strong chance of wrapping up the championship today after qualifying on pole for both Races 29 and 30 at the OTR SuperSprint The Bend.
The Shell V-Power Racing Team earned a lockout for the first 32-lap race of the day with Fabian Coulthard just 0.0276s slower than his team-mate’s 1:15.4506s in Qualifying for Race 29.
McLaughlin had to go for back-to-back flyers to knock his nearest rival for the title, Jamie Whincup, off top spot in the latter 10-minute session of the morning before he was given a helping hand by Tickford Racing’s Cameron Waters, who snatched second.
Whincup is therefore due to line up fourth for Race 29, next to Waters, and third for Race 30.
In the other Red Bull Holden Racing Team entry, Shane van Gisbergen was 15th- and then 22nd-fastest, with an off along the way in the second session.
Qualifying for Race 29
The first 10-minute hit-out began on a track which was wet in patches due to overnight rain.
Chaz Mostert (#25 Mobil 1 Appliances Online ZB Commodore) set the pace after one run with a 1:15.7884s, from Coulthard (#12 Mustang) at 1:15.8700s, McLaughlin (#17 Mustang) at 1:15.8908s, van Gisbergen (#97 ZB Commodore) at 1:15.9093s, then Waters (#6 Monster Energy Mustang), and Whincup (#88 ZB Commodore).
McLaughlin moved to the top at the start of his second run with a 1:15.4506s and almost beat that when he pressed on for a second flyer, on which he went fastest to the second sector before breaking the beam at 1:15.4897s.
Coulthard joined his team-mate on the front row by clocking a 1:15.4782s, while Waters ended up third at 0.0727s off the pace and Whincup was fourth at 0.2185s from pole.
James Courtney (#44 Boost Mobile Mustang) finished fifth-fastest, from Anton De Pasquale (#99 Penrite ZB Commodore), Mark Winterbottom (#18 Irwin Tools ZB Commodore), Nick Percat (#8 R&J Batteries ZB Commodore), and Rick Kelly (#15 Castrol Mustang).
Neither Mostert nor van Gisbergen went quicker on their second runs, slipping to 10th and 15th respectively.
Todd Hazelwood (#14 TRG Transport ZB Commodore) was 11th-fastest and David Reynolds (#9 Penrite ZB Commodore) 16th.
Qualifying for Race 30
There were mixed fortunes for the Triple Eight drivers at the start of Qualifying for Race 30, with Whincup setting the best first flyer but van Gisbergen running off at Turn 11 having been fastest at that point to the second sector.
Courtney sat second at the midway mark, 0.0362s slower than Whincup’s 1:15.5708s, while McLaughlin had not ventured onto the circuit.
When he did, he only moved to third initially with a 1:15.6200s but nailed a 1:15.3493s on his next lap to dislodge Whincup.
Waters moved up six spots just before the chequered flag to put #6 onto the front row and, more importantly in the context of the championship, push #88 back to the second row given Whincup found no more pace on his second run.
Courtney was fourth and Coulthard fifth, from Mostert, Bryce Fullwood (#2 Mobil 1 Middy’s ZB Commodore), Percat, De Pasquale, and Macauley Jones (#3 CoolDrive ZB Commodore).
Winterbottom and Hazelwood will share Row 6, Reynolds qualified 14th, and van Gisbergen ended up 22nd having gone no quicker than a 1:16.3862s.
Alex Davison is out for the day and did not start qualifying after the Team Sydney crew found an issue in his #19 Local Legends ZB Commodore’s engine overnight, while the spare is in Queensland being prepared for the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000.
Race 29 of the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship starts at 11:50 local time/12:20 AEST.
Results: Qualifying for Race 29, OTR SuperSprint The Bend
|1||17||Shell V-Power Racing Team||Scott McLaughlin||Ford Mustang GT||1:15.4506|
|2||12||Shell V-Power Racing Team||Fabian Coulthard||Ford Mustang GT||1:15.4782||0:00.0276|
|3||6||Monster Energy Racing||Cameron Waters||Ford Mustang GT||1:15.5233||0:00.0727|
|4||88||Red Bull Holden Racing Team||Jamie Whincup||Holden Commodore ZB||1:15.6691||0:00.2185|
|5||44||Boost Mobile Racing||James Courtney||Ford Mustang GT||1:15.7506||0:00.3000|
|6||99||Penrite Racing||Anton De Pasquale||Holden Commodore ZB||1:15.7544||0:00.3038|
|7||18||IRWIN Racing||Mark Winterbottom||Holden Commodore ZB||1:15.7551||0:00.3045|
|8||8||R&J Batteries||Nick Percat||Holden Commodore ZB||1:15.7596||0:00.3090|
|9||15||Castrol Racing||Rick Kelly||Ford Mustang GT||1:15.7659||0:00.3153|
|10||25||Mobil 1 Appliances Online||Chaz Mostert||Holden Commodore ZB||1:15.7884||0:00.3378|
|11||14||TRG Transport||Todd Hazelwood||Holden Commodore ZB||1:15.8064||0:00.3558|
|12||20||DEWALT Racing||Scott Pye||Holden Commodore ZB||1:15.8455||0:00.3949|
|13||7||NED Whisky Racing||Andre Heimgartner||Ford Mustang GT||1:15.8461||0:00.3955|
|14||55||Supercheap Auto Racing||Jack Le Brocq||Ford Mustang GT||1:15.9037||0:00.4531|
|15||97||Red Bull Holden Racing Team||Shane van Gisbergen||Holden Commodore ZB||1:15.9093||0:00.4587|
|16||9||Penrite Racing||David Reynolds||Holden Commodore ZB||1:15.9196||0:00.4690|
|17||5||Truck Assist Racing||Lee Holdsworth||Ford Mustang GT||1:15.9319||0:00.4813|
|18||2||Mobil 1 TM Middy’s Racing||Bryce Fullwood||Holden Commodore ZB||1:15.9657||0:00.5151|
|19||35||Yellow Cover Racing||Garry Jacobson||Holden Commodore ZB||1:16.3260||0:00.8754|
|20||3||Team CoolDrive||Macauley Jones||Holden Commodore ZB||1:16.4027||0:00.9521|
|21||22||Team SYDNEY||Chris Pither||Holden Commodore ZB||1:16.4476||0:00.9970|
|22||4||SCT Motor Sports||Jack Smith||Holden Commodore ZB||1:16.7267||0:01.2761|
|23||34||UNIT Racing||Jake Kostecki||Holden Commodore ZB||1:17.4645||0:02.0139|
Results: Qualifying for Race 30, OTR SuperSprint The Bend
|1||17||Shell V-Power Racing Team||Scott McLaughlin||Ford Mustang GT||1:15.3493|
|2||6||Monster Energy Racing||Cameron Waters||Ford Mustang GT||1:15.5491||0:00.1998|
|3||88||Red Bull Holden Racing Team||Jamie Whincup||Holden Commodore ZB||1:15.5708||0:00.2215|
|4||44||Boost Mobile Racing||James Courtney||Ford Mustang GT||1:15.6070||0:00.2577|
|5||12||Shell V-Power Racing Team||Fabian Coulthard||Ford Mustang GT||1:15.6196||0:00.2703|
|6||25||Mobil 1 Appliances Online||Chaz Mostert||Holden Commodore ZB||1:15.6289||0:00.2796|
|7||2||Mobil 1 TM Middy’s Racing||Bryce Fullwood||Holden Commodore ZB||1:15.6462||0:00.2969|
|8||8||R&J Batteries||Nick Percat||Holden Commodore ZB||1:15.6699||0:00.3206|
|9||99||Penrite Racing||Anton De Pasquale||Holden Commodore ZB||1:15.7339||0:00.3846|
|10||3||Team CoolDrive||Macauley Jones||Holden Commodore ZB||1:15.7757||0:00.4264|
|11||18||IRWIN Racing||Mark Winterbottom||Holden Commodore ZB||1:15.7845||0:00.4352|
|12||14||TRG Transport||Todd Hazelwood||Holden Commodore ZB||1:15.7990||0:00.4497|
|13||5||Truck Assist Racing||Lee Holdsworth||Ford Mustang GT||1:15.8215||0:00.4722|
|14||9||Penrite Racing||David Reynolds||Holden Commodore ZB||1:15.8614||0:00.5121|
|15||7||NED Whisky Racing||Andre Heimgartner||Ford Mustang GT||1:15.9026||0:00.5533|
|16||20||DEWALT Racing||Scott Pye||Holden Commodore ZB||1:15.9110||0:00.5617|
|17||55||Supercheap Auto Racing||Jack Le Brocq||Ford Mustang GT||1:15.9453||0:00.5960|
|18||15||Castrol Racing||Rick Kelly||Ford Mustang GT||1:16.0230||0:00.6737|
|19||4||SCT Motor Sports||Jack Smith||Holden Commodore ZB||1:16.0277||0:00.6784|
|20||22||Team SYDNEY||Chris Pither||Holden Commodore ZB||1:16.2195||0:00.8702|
|21||35||Yellow Cover Racing||Garry Jacobson||Holden Commodore ZB||1:16.2384||0:00.8891|
|22||97||Red Bull Holden Racing Team||Shane van Gisbergen||Holden Commodore ZB||1:16.3862||0:01.0369|
|23||34||UNIT Racing||Jake Kostecki||Holden Commodore ZB||1:16.5477||0:01.1984|