Darren Kelly surged his way to pole position in a wet qualifying for the final round of the Golden Homes North Island Endurance Series at Pukekohe Park.
The Kiwi drift ace muscled the Heart of Racing Aston Martin Vantage GT3 to a 1.08.283, which ended up being 1.2s quicker than Andrew Fawcett.
With conditions remaining damp as qualifying approached, the key was to continue putting in laps to ensure you were on track when the fastest times were laid down.
Lap times at the start of the session flirted with the low 1.10s. But as a dry line forged itself out, speeds were picking up, and the battle for the front row intensified.
Kelly sat on top for the entire session, though it was the McLaren 650s GT3 of Glenn Smith and John de Veth in provisional second at the halfway stage.
However, the final lap of the session for Fawcett edged the McLaren’s best by two-tenths, sealing an all-International Motorsport front row.
The result is a solid bounce back for the No.10 Audi R8 after collecting the wall in yesterday’s test day, requiring an all-night repair effort.
With the absence of the sister No.22 Audi this weekend, the No.10 is borrowing bits of the No.22’s bodywork.
De Veth and Smith will start third, with Lance Hughes and Chris van der Drift fourth in the Nissan GT-R.
Matt Dovey qualified fifth in the DFM Racing Audi A5 V8 and will share the sixth row with the Audi TT RS VLN of Greg Murphy and Shane Helms.
Smith and De Veth comfortably claimed pole position for the one-hour season finale, despite bearing 55kgs of added weight this weekend.
John Midgley was second in the Ford SuperTourer, edging out Tim Edgell for the last spot on the front row.
Anthony Leighs will start fourth, ahead of Lochlainn Fitzgerald-Symes.
Gene Rollinson was a notable eighth in the Hyundai TCR.
In his first race since 2019, Richie Stanaway will start tomorrow’s race from ninth.
The one- and three-hour race will be live tomorrow on Sky Sport, with coverage beginning at 10.30 am.
Main Image: Matt Smith