Scott McLaughlin will start tonight’s opening race of the Truck Assist Sydney SuperSprint from pole after the defending champion set the timing screens alight with a record-breaking qualifying performance.
Kiwi compatriot Shane Van Gisbergen will grid up alongside his rival on the front row. The Red Bull Racing Commodore fell 0.27s shy of McLaughlin despite setting a strong opening sector.
Cam Waters held on to third place having been the first driver to set a lap time in the Top-15 shootout with Jamie Whincup making up the second row of the grid.
Lee Holdsworth would end up fifth ahead of a jubilant Fabian Coulthard who set his time on a set of used soft tyres.
Sydney Motorsport Park was aglow with the fading light of dusk as drivers prepare for tonight’s opening race under lights.
Waters was the first driver to set a competitive lap time in the Top-15 Shootout with a crushing 1.28.0596s which at the time was the fastest time of the weekend.
A notable omission from the Top 15 was Kelly Racing’s Andre Heimgartner. He and teammate Rick Kelly were both eliminated in the lead up to the shootout in a difficult session for the Mustang duo.
Similarly, James Courtney risked his tyre strategy to run all of Q1 and Q2 on the slower Hard compound of tyre, missing out on the shootout and will start 17th.
Waters’ time would fend off fierce challenges by Tickford stablemate Lee Holdsworth and title protagonist Jamie Whincup.
However, a flawless lap by championship leader McLaughlin saw the #17 DJR Penske hoist himself to the head of the timing screens with a 1.27.7428.
Van Gisbergen came within a whisker of the championship leader but would lose valuable time in the back stages of the lap to fall two-tenths short at the line.
Having suffered a tumultuous weekend at the Sydney venue last time out, Penrite Racing were hoping the three-week break would allow them to unlock some more performance.
Both Anton de Pasquale and David Reynolds opted to set their sole representative time on used softs, ending up 8th and 12th respectively.
Coulthard had set a 1.28.4646 to top Q2 and have the last chance to snare pole position. But the Kiwi had used the best of his soft tyres in the pre-cursor to the shootout, ending up a notable sixth fastest.
Bryce Fullwood rounded out the ten in a strong performance by the series rookie, three-spots up on his teammate Chaz Mostert.
McLaughlin’s pole lap means the two-time champion has claimed an unprecedented ninth career pole position around the Eastern Creek venue.
Race 10 of the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship gets underway from 8.25 pm NZT tonight.
|2||Shane van Gisbergen||0:00.2756|
|8||Anton De Pasquale||0:01.0479|
|18||Jack Le Brocq|