Anton De Pasquale has claimed provisional pole for this evening’s Beaurepaires Sydney SuperNight opener, thrashing the pack by half a second ahead of a potentially wet Top 10 Shootout.
Red Bull Ampol Racing’s Shane van Gisbergen and Jamie Whincup were best of the rest in second and third. The top 10 was full of the ‘usual suspects’, although Chaz Mostert and Will Brown were notable omissions.
With rain looming on the weather radar, it was expected that the Supercars field would get through today’s 20-minute provisional qualifying session in the dry.
With 10 minutes down, Cameron Waters led the queue on a 1:30.473 over Brown, Tim Slade, Jack Lebrocq, and Garry Jacobson. But there was plenty let to play out.
De Pasquale had been relatively invisible for the first half of session until he threw down a 1:29.756. His time was one of a flurry that displaced Waters; with Whincup, Brodie Kostecki, Will Davison and van Gisbergen all cutting in front of the Monster pilot.
Teams slowly filtered into pit-lane to prepare for the traditional final tilt at the timesheets, although not everyone. Brad Jones Racing’s Todd Hazelwood and Nick Percat, plus Andre Heimgartner stayed out, opting for a lap cycle with less traffic.
It didn’t work out for Heimgartner but it did for Hazelwood, who punched a time good enough for fifth with just over six minutes to go. Team18’s Scott Pye and Mark Winterbottom also successfully clocked times before the rush; Pye’s 1:30.103 putting him third and Winterbottom slotting seventh.
What these times did was apply a lot of pressure on those desperate to make the top 10. While De Pasquale was safe at the front, van Gisbergen had tumbled to eighth and Waters 10th during the session’s brief lull.
Even though he was safe, De Pasquale clearly wanted to lower the bar even further to send a message to the competition. He was one of the first to clock a time; a stellar 1:29.243, one of the quickest times seen in the four weekends of running at SMP.
Van Gisbergen rose to second with Whincup jumping to third. Davison, and Brodie Kostecki were fourth and fifth. Tim Slade had looked on for a shootout berth, only to be knocked when Percat fired in a last-second lap to claim sixth. Pye, Lebrocq, Hazelwood, and Waters rounded out the Top 10 Shootout starters.
Among those to narrowly miss out was Chaz Mostert. The Walkinshaw Andretti United driver ended up 12th, one spot behind Slade, and ahead of Winterbottom, Bryce Fullwood, and Zane Goddard.
The other big name to miss out on the top 10 was Brown. After looking quick earlier in the session he ended up 16th, one spot ahead of returning driver David Reynolds.