Shane van Gisbergen has topped the first Castrol Toyota Racing Series qualifying session of the year, securing pole position for tomorrow morning’s race.
Pole for this afternoon’s season opener was awarded to Chris van der Drift, courtesy of his second-best lap time.
The reigning Bathurst 1000 winner waited until the dying moments of the 15-minute session to post his best effort, usurping provisional polesitter Chris van der Drift with a 1.30.231.
The unorthodox format of qualifying means the van Gisbergen will start on pole for tomorrow’s second race, the pre-cursor before the Grand Prix.
Van der Drift, meanwhile, will start from the front today, with van Gisbergen starting second.
“It’s pretty awesome,” van Gisbergen said.
“The boys have been chipping away all weekend getting closer. But I couldn’t quite nail the perfect lap. So, there is a still a fair bit left in it.”
Van der Drift looked certain to claim top honours. The Tasman Motorsport driver was comfortably the quickest among the 16-strong field for most of the session.
Sitting upwards of five-tenths faster than van Gisbergen as the clocked ticked over zero, it took a blazing lap by the Supercars regular to topple the timesheets. The margin dividing the two was only 0.067s.
Matthew Payne was the best of the youngsters in third. The New Zealand karting champion ended up two-tenths behind van der Drift. Kaleb Ngatoa will line-up fourth tomorrow in an all-rookie second row.
Brendon Leitch ended the session with the fifth-fastest time, but he found himself buried in the sand trap after a high-speed off on his final flying lap.
A mere 0.008s split billy Frazer and Peter Vodanovich in the battle for fifth and sixth.
Daniel Gaunt, Andre Heimgartner and Conrad Clarke rounded out the top-ten.
The first race of the weekend is slated to start at 4.30 pm.
Race 1 grid (second fastest times):
|1||Chris van der Drift||1.30.416|
|2||Shane van Gisbergen||1.30.519|
Race 2 grid (fastest times):
|1||Shane van Gisbergen||1.30.231|
|2||Chris van der Drift||1.30.238|