Chaz Mostert has claimed his 21st Supercars pole position after narrowly edging out championship leader Scott McLaughlin in a closely contested top-15 shootout at The Bend.
Mostert had struggled to impress in earlier two qualifying sessions before the shootout, but the Walkinshaw Andretti United Commodore came alive in the battle for pole to comfortably head the field with only a handful of drivers left to run.
His nearest rival emerged as McLaughlin who was dead-even with Mostert after the first two sectors, falling only slightly in the last portion of the lap.
Shane Van Gisbergen made it a Kiwi 2-3 in third as he fronted an all-Red Bull second row.
A late lap by Van Gisbergen was enough to give him the edge over McLaughlin in the first ten-minute session that preceded the shootout.
Lap times continued to drop as track evolution caught out several drivers, namely David Reynolds and Cam Waters who barely avoided an embarrassing Q1 elimination in 19th and 20th.
Van Gisbergen’s time was marginally quicker than McLaughlin who had crossed the line moments before. Chaz Mostert was one-tenth back in third with Andre Heimgartner putting in an impressive P6 performance.
Jack Smith, Macauley Jones, Chris Pither and Zane Goddard who those who failed to advance onto Q2.
A blistering lap by Van Gisbergen in Q2 put the Red Bull four-tenths clear of the field and front a Kiwi 1-2-3 with Coulthard and McLaughlin behind.
Whincup slotted in behind McLaughlin in the sister Red Bull as the rest of the field squabbled to get inside the top-15 for a spot in the shootout.
Those who missed out were Todd Hazelwood, Scott Pye, Garry Jacobson, Mark Winterbottom and Alex Davison.
Anton De Pasquale set the benchmark for the field to chase, laying down a strong 1.48.522.
The first man to better the #99 was Mostert who executed a stellar lap to sit six-tenths up on the field. His Walkinshaw Andretti teammate Fullwood had put up a commendable performance in qualifying but was finished a disappointing ___ in the shootout.
Whincup was the next driver to try and beat Mostert, but a loose first sector set up a challenging rest of a lap. He eventually split himself between Mostert and De Pasquale for provisional second.
It would ultimately take until McLaughlin before the next driver would break into the 48-second bracket. A purple middle sector from the Shell V-Power Mustang gave him the edge into the last portion of the lap, eventually crossing the line just 0.005s behind Mostert in second.
Both Coulthard and van Gisbergen were unable to offer a challenge to Mostert, the latter slipping into third with the last lap of the session. Coulthard meanwhile will line-up alongside De Pasquale whose first lap ended up strong enough to give the Erebus Motorsport driver a third-row start.
Jack Le Brocq was 0.01s slower than De Pasquale to end up seventh. Rick Kelly was another big mover to climb six spots to finish as the lead Kelly Racing Mustang in eighth.
Lee Holdsworth and Andre Heimgartner rounded out the top-10. The Kiwi left disappointed after a mistake at Turn 6 cost him valuable time.
Nick Percat was the only driver to tease the limits of the track when he dropped all four wheels of the road at the final corner, leaving him 15th and slowest in the shootout.,
Race 25 of the championship will be staged over 24 laps and gets underway from 5.45 pm NZT.