Anton De Pasquale has claimed his ninth Supercars pole position of 2021 for the opening race of the BP Ultimate Sydney SuperSprint, leading Jamie Whincup, Will Davison, and Shane van Gisbergen.
De Pasquale’s 1:28.637 pole lap was enough to be 0.345 ahead of Whincup’s best time, that margin being among the largest of any qualifying session this year.
De Pasquale unsurprisingly topped the opening block of qualifying, leading a seemingly much improved Chaz Mostert, Will Brown, Brodie Kostecki, Will Davion, Jamie Whincup, Cameron Waters, Nick Percat, Bryce Fullwood, and Zane Goddard.
On the other side of the coin, Fabian Coulthard, Jake Kostecki, Luke Youlden, and Jack Smith were first to be knocked out, by virtue of qualifying 21st to 24th.
Almost everyone on the grid would attack Q2 with a set of green slick Dunlop tyres. Macauley Jones was the only driver to don used tyres.
Davison and Brown were the session’s early leaders (the former posting a 1:29.051) ahead of the eclectic final four minutes. The two Wills and Tim Slade were the only drivers to not partake in the final few minutes of the session; the leaders presuming that their times would be good enough to see them through to Q3.
It didn’t take long for the two Wills to be dethroned, with De Pasquale clocking a 1:28.945, the first ‘eight’ of the day.
He wasn’t the only driver to improve in the dying stages. Brodie Kostecki split Davison and Brown to sit third. And that’s how the top four remained. Whincup, van Gisbergen, Waters, Percat, Mostert, and Todd Hazelwood rounded out the top 10 for Q3.
Subsequently, Jack LeBrocq, Fullwood, Scott Pye, Andre Heimgartner, James Courtney, Slade, Mark Winterbottom, Goddard, Jones, and Garry Jacobson were all knocked out, sitting 11th to 20th.
Just like last weekend, Brown elected to skip the end-of-session theatrics and instead have a crack at the timesheets at the start of the 10-minute Q3. His on-edge lap was a 1:29.139; a time that Brown didn’t expect to be good enough for pole.
With just over three and a half minutes left, the other nine drivers left in the top 10 piled onto the track to try and take on Brown’s lap.
Davison promptly beat Brown, only for De Pasquale to cross the line with an even quicker 1:28.637; the quickest time of the day and the time that would ultimately secure pole position for tonight’s race.
When the dust settled, Brown had been shuffled down to fifth. Whincup had rocketed to second place, with Davison narrowly beating van Gisbergen to grab third. Behind Brown, Mostert, Brodie Kostecki, Percat, Waters, and Hazelwood rounded out the top 10.
The biggest story though remained De Pasquale’s margin to Whincup. The gap was three and a half tenths … a larger gap than the gap from Whincup to Kostecki in seventh but less of a gap than De Pasquale has recorded in some of his previous Sydney poles.