Anton De Pasquale has grabbed pole position for this evening’s Bunnings Trade Sydney SuperNight night race at Sydney Motorsport Park, smashing the field by half a second in an intriguing top 10 shootout.
While De Pasquale got the prize, the stars of the session were Erebus Motorsport drivers Will Brown and Brodie Kostecki. The former recorded a credible time to claim second place on the grid, with Kostecki also impressing in fifth.
Heading into the showdown, all bar one had brand new ‘green’ slick tyres prepared for their shootout attempt, with Tim Slade’s Team Blanchard Racing Mustang the outlier.
Apart from tyres, the other big topic heading into the shootout was weather. Rain wasn’t necessarily on the cards, but teams were keenly watching for a bit of cloud cover to aid their efforts.
Slade was the first to attack the clock; his lap marred by a sideways moment at the final corner heading onto the front straight to start his lap. He wasn’t the only driver to make a mistake, with Chaz Mostert running wide through the dirt over the hill heading into turn four.
Mostert’s time was immediately eclipsed by Jamie Whincup’s 1:29.182. He, too, seemed to struggle with putting his power to the ground, underlined by a lap with several sideways moments in it.
Brodie Kostecki’s shootout lap was the cleanest up to that point, with a slight twitch over Corporate Hill at the brake zone the only real hesitation. He subsequently toppled Whincup as the first driver to break into the 28s, via a 1:28.702.
The Erebus ace’s time was a competitive one. Despite recording the fastest final sector, Cameron Waters couldn’t quite beat it. It ended up being his teammate Brown that would edge him, thanks to clocking a super slick 1:28.605.
Returning to his happy hunting ground from 2020, Nick Percat was next on track. His lap was clean like Brown’s, and quick enough to slot him into second behind the WD-40 ace, nine one-hundredths adrift.
It looked like van Gisbergen would fit in somewhere near Percat and Brown based on his sector splits, but the Kiwi’s time faltered in the final sector. Being 1.2 tenths off Brown put him between Waters and Whincup.
The only two cars left that could spoil Brown’s party were the Shell V-Power Racing Mustangs of Davison and De Pasquale. Davison was first; using a little too much kerb at turn five and sliding at the final corner to start the lap. It was quick, but as a 1:28.618 lap-time it wasn’t quite enough to drop Brown.
This left just the dominant De Pasquale to have a go. Predictably, the DJR pilot was lethal in the first sector, being the quickest of any of the runners. He also went purple in the second sector, too.
And, with a perfect final sector also following De Pasquale was able to smoke not only Brown, but the rest of the field with a 1:28.077; an enormous half a second ahead of Brown, sealing his fifth pole of the season.
Qualifying, Bunnings Trade Sydney SuperNight Race 20
1. Anton De Pasquale
2. Will Brown
3. Will Davison
4. Nick Percat
5. Brodie Kostecki
6. Cameron Waters
7. Shane van Gisbergen
8. Jamie Whincup
9. Chaz Mostert
10. Tim Slade