Brown takes maiden pole ahead of Race 23 at SMP

Will Brown

Erebus Motorsport’s Will Brown has qualified on pole for the first time in the Repco Supercars Championship ahead of Race 23 of the season at Sydney Motorsport Park.

Both he and team-mate Brodie Kostecki managed to get through Part 1 of the three-part, knockout session on hard tyres.

That meant both those rookies had a full set of softs when pole was there to be taken, whereas most of the rest had new boots on the working side only, at best.

Brown and his #9 Shaw and Partners ZB Commodore will share the front row with the #88 Red Bull Ampol Racing entry of Jamie Whincup for the opening race of the Armor All Sydney SuperNight.

Row 2 will be the latter’s championship-leading team-mate, Shane van Gisbergen, to the inside of the Shell V-Power Racing Team’s Will Davison, while Brodie Kostecki (#99 Boost Mobile ZB Commodore) ended up fifth.

Notables who did not make the top 10 were Walkinshaw Andretti United’s Chaz Mostert and Dick Johnson Racing’s Anton De Pasquale, the latter to start last having failed to set a time at all due to a transaxle problem.

Brown was the only driver on track at the start of the third and final, 10-minute segment of Qualifying for Race 23 and, armed with those green hoops, clocked the fastest lap of the day so far, a 1:29.0391s.

The rookie watched on as the other nine still in contention rolled out in the final few minutes, and none could beat it.

Whincup came up 0.0285s shy on a 1:29.0676s, while van Gisbergen clocked a 1:29.1093s and Davison a 1:29.1304s, shuffling Brodie Kostecki back to fifth after he had set a 1:29.1660s.

Nick Percat put Brad Jones Racing’s #8 R&J Batteries ZB Commodore sixth on the grid after lapping Sydney Motorsport Park in a time of 1:29.4547s, with the top 10 rounded out by Tim Slade (#3 CoolDrive Mustang), Jack Le Brocq (#5 Truck Assist Mustang), Todd Hazelwood (#14 Dunlop Super Dealer ZB Commodore), and Cameron Waters (#6 Monster Energy Mustang).

The latter did not set a time in Part 3 of the session, opting to pit after recording a track limits breach on his hot lap.

Post-session, Brown reflected on what was good fortune when he did not make the control line in time to have a crack on soft tyres at the end of Part 1 of qualifying.

“I wasn’t happy at the time, I was sort of getting up Tommy [Moore, engineer] a bit but that’s probably what got us through to here,” laughed the rookie.

“It’s bloody awesome, the guys have done a fantastic job and just pumped. Awesome to have Shaw & Partners onboard this weekend as well.

“It’s awesome with the team, I got them a bit of beer money so they’ll be happy, so we’ll see how we go.”

As for tonight’s 32-lapper, Brown said, “I’ll be going for that win.

“It’s bloody awesome to get another front-row; three in two weekends now, it’s just awesome.

“So, we’ll be having a big crack in the race and see where we end up.”

Earlier, in Part 2, Erebus went one-two with Brodie Kostecki on a 1:29.0788s leading Brown on a 1:29.1508s.

Brown was one of only two drivers who went out initially, meaning matters were largely decided in the final two minutes of the stanza.

Macauley Jones (#96 Coca-Cola ZB Commodore) ended up 11th, ahead of Garry Jacobson (#22 Muscle Car Warehouse ZB Commodore), and Bryce Fullwood (#2 Mobil 1 Middy’s ZB Commodore).

The latter will share Row 7 with Walkinshaw Andretti United team-mate Mostert (#25 Mobil 1 Appliances Online ZB Commodore), who reused soft tyres from Part 1.

James Courtney (#44 Boost Mobile Mustang) qualified 15th, ahead of Jake Kostecki (#34 Unit ZB Commodore), and Randle.

The latter, however, will start from 20th on the grid due to a penalty for the scare he caused fellow wildcard Kurt Kostecki in Part 1 of the session.

Kurt Kostecki (#27 SP Tools ZB Commodore) was the first to go on a hot lap on soft tyres, midway through the stanza, and had to dive for the grass when he happened upon a weaving Randle on the race line.

The Walkinshaw Andretti United driver stayed off the wall despite slithering down the hill towards Turn 4, and will start to the inside of Randle given he had qualified 20th-fastest.

They form Row 10 while, just ahead, Jack Smith (#4 SCT Logistics ZB Commodore) will be on the inside of Zane Goddard (#35 Yellow Cover ZB Commodore) on Row 9.

Back in Part 1, 20 drivers initially headed out, all on hard tyres, and there was early drama when De Pasquale suffered a transaxle problem.

The segment was energised again when the other six pilots went out on soft tyres, which forced many of the rest onto the stickier rubber to maximise their chances of getting through.

In the end, Davison ended up on top with a 1:29.4410s that vaulted him from below the cut-off in 21st on the timing screen.

Percat’s similar leap from 22nd to sixth bumped Luke Youlden (#26 Penrite Mustang) back to 21st.

Youlden will start next to Scott Pye (#20 DeWalt ZB Commodore), with the rest of the grid being Mark Winterbottom (#18 Irwin Tools ZB Commodore), Andre Heimgartner (#7 Ned Mustang), Fabian Coulthard (#19 Local Legends ZB Commodore), and De Pasquale (#11 Mustang).

Race 23 starts under lights at 19:45 local time/AEDT.

Results: Qualifying for Race 23, Armor All Sydney SuperNight

Pos Num Team/Sponsor Driver Car Fastest lap Tyre Split
1 9 Erebus Motorsport William Brown Holden Commodore ZB 1:29.0391 S
2 88 Red Bull Ampol Racing Team Jamie Whincup Holden Commodore ZB 1:29.0676 S 0:00.0285
3 97 Red Bull Ampol Racing Team Shane van Gisbergen Holden Commodore ZB 1:29.1093 S 0:00.0702
4 17 Shell V-Power Racing Team Will Davison Ford Mustang GT 1:29.1304 S 0:00.0913
5 99 Erebus Boost Mobile Racing Brodie Kostecki Holden Commodore ZB 1:29.1660 S 0:00.1269
6 8 R&J Batteries Nick Percat Holden Commodore ZB 1:29.4547 S 0:00.4156
7 3 CoolDrive Racing Tim Slade Ford Mustang GT 1:29.5946 S 0:00.5555
8 5 Truck Assist Racing Jack Le Brocq Ford Mustang GT 1:29.6391 S 0:00.6000
9 14 Dunlop Super Dealer Racing Todd Hazelwood Holden Commodore ZB 1:31.1534 H 0:02.1143
10 6 Monster Energy Racing Cameron Waters Ford Mustang GT
11 96 Coca-Cola Racing Macauley Jones Holden Commodore ZB 1:29.9189 S Part 2
12 22 PremiAir Hire Garry Jacobson Holden Commodore ZB 1:30.0647 S Part 2
13 2 Mobil 1 Middy’s Racing Bryce Fullwood Holden Commodore ZB 1:30.1486 S Part 2
14 25 Mobil 1 Appliances Online Chaz Mostert Holden Commodore ZB 1:30.1685 S Part 2
15 44 Boost Mobile Racing James Courtney Ford Mustang GT 1:30.2353 S Part 2
16 34 UNIT Racing Jake Kostecki Holden Commodore ZB 1:30.2759 S Part 2
17 55 Castrol Racing Thomas Randle Ford Mustang GT 1:30.3893 S Part 2
18 4 SCT Logistics Jack Smith Holden Commodore ZB 1:30.4831 S Part 2
19 35 Yellow Cover Racing Zane Goddard Holden Commodore ZB 1:30.4867 S Part 2
20 27 Walkinshaw Andretti United Kurt Kostecki Holden Commodore ZB 1:33.1888 H Part 2
21 26 Penrite Racing Luke Youlden Ford Mustang GT 1:30.8798 S Part 1
22 20 DEWALT Racing Scott Pye Holden Commodore ZB 1:30.9429 H Part 1
23 18 IRWIN Racing Mark Winterbottom Holden Commodore ZB 1:31.0609 H Part 1
24 7 NED Whisky Racing Andre Heimgartner Ford Mustang GT 1:31.0682 H Part 1
25 19 Local Legends Fabian Coulthard Holden Commodore ZB 1:31.0767 S Part 1
26 11 Shell V-Power Racing Team Anton De Pasquale Ford Mustang GT Part 1

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