Cam Waters has steered the Monster Energy Ford Mustang to pole position in the first Supercars top-ten shootout of the season at Mount Panorama.
Second fastest in both of Friday’s practice sessions, Waters qualified third in the earlier 20-minute session to determine the order for the shootout.
A blistering middle sector coupled by a pair of solid first and final timing intermediates had Waters surge to the number one spot, 0.1s ahead of Tim Slade.
It is his second successive pole position at the Mountain, having topped the shootout in last year’s Bathurst 1000. He would finish that race in second.
I’m absolutely pumped,” Waters said.
“It’s an awesome way to start the year, the car rolled out really good in practice and we’ve just been fine-tuning it to get a little bit nicer.
“It felt pretty sketchy then, nice and slippery but got through Turn 1, made a little mistake and then just tried to do a clean lap after that.
“Super pumped to be starting off pole here again and it will be nice this time because I will actually be in the car.”
Tim Slade was a surprise starter in the shootout, but he cast doubts aside and ensconced himself on the front row. It is an impressive effort for the 35-year-old who spent a year put of the main game and had only experienced limited testing in the Blanchard Racing Mustang.
Van Gisbergen was the lone Kiwi in the battle for pole. Setting a purple first sector, van Gisbergen was unable to convert on his pace and could only muster the third best time. Provisional pole man de Pasquale will start alongside the Red Bull on the second row.
Will Davison was three-tenths behind his new teammate in fifth, grazing the wall at Forrest Elbow on his run. He finished, ahead of Chaz Mostert who suffered a sloppy end to what otherwise was a competitive lap.
Jamie Whincup was seventh quickest in the sister Red Bull, 0.07s faster than Brodie Kostecki. The Erebus rookie giving the team a reward for their night-long stint of repairing the damaged Will Brown machine.
Mark Winterbottom was the first driver to set a lap time and improved one spot on qualifying to line up ninth. Scott Pye will make it an all Team 18 fifth row.
Race One of the Mount Panorama 500 will kick off at 5 pm NZT live on Sky Sport.
|Shane van Gisbergen
|Anton De Pasquale