Saturday, Aug 19 03:55pm
AUTHOR: Matthew Hansen

McLaughlin on course to take quali record after grabbing another pole

Scott McLaughlin has taken pole for this afternoon's opening Red Rooster Sydney SuperSprint, trumping the rest of the field by two tenths of a second over fellow Ford campaigner Mark Winterbottom. Fellow Kiwis Shane van Gisbergen and Fabian Coulthard will start from third and fourth respectively. 


The pole means that McLaughlin now has an unsailable number of poles, with no chance for anyone else in the field to take more pole positions as the year rolls on. The stat also puts him on target to take the record for most pole positions taken in a season.


The 15-minute qualifying session started in curious tones, with the full grid filing out of the lane and then almost immediately filing back into pit lane for an alternate tyre set. 


The first driver to set a representative time was Michael Caruso, who put down a 1:29.3501 despite having to navigate a circuit clogged up with traffic. But the time was soon eclipsed by Shane van Gisbergen, Scott Pye, and a few others. 


With eight minutes to go, they all ha to give way to Shell V-Power Racing's Scott McLaughlin and Fabian Coulthard; the latter topping the session with more than seven minutes still to go. His time was a 1:28.5972, and the fastest of the weekend thus far. 


And that's how they stayed as the field all piled into pit lane to prepare for their final respective runs. Coulthard and McLaughlin led, over van Gisbergen, Mark Winterbottom, Cameron Waters, Scott Pye, Caruso, Chaz Mostert, Tim Slade, and Nick Percat. 


The first in the final phase to set a big time was Jamie Whincup. He jumped from 14th place to second, just 0.006 behind Coulthard's time. They both moved aside though for van Gisbergen, Winterbottom, and then a sensational lap from McLaughlin on a 1:28.3209. 


It was two-tenths quicker than the next best wave of drivers, all of whom were on top of each other for times. Winterbottom, van Gisbergen, Coulthard, and Whincup rounded out the top five. 


Photo: Shell V-Power Racing Team


1. Scott McLaughlin  1:28.3209
2. Mark Winterbottom   +0.2150
3. Shane van Gisbergen  +0.2722
4. Fabian Coulthard  +0.2763
5. Jamie Whincup  +0.2827
6. Tim Slade   +0.3756
7. Chaz Mostert  +0.5548
8. David Reynolds  +0.5798
9. Scott Pye  +0.6042
10. Craig Lowndes  +0.6091