A stunning last-lap effort has given Scott McLaughlin provisional pole for today’s 250-kilometre race at the Clipsal 500.
It was actually a tough session for the Volvo GRM squad, with McLaughlin’s team-mate James Moffat suffering a power steering failure mid-way through the 20-minute session.
The failure not only left Moffat out of the session, and with a P25 starting spot, but left the last sector in average condition thanks to dropped fluid.
To that point McLaughlin hadn’t put down a decent banker, and was sitting down in 23rd. But a huge effort right at the flag saw him not only bag a spot in the Top 10 Shootout, but grab provisional pole.
“I didn’t make it easy for myself at all,” said the Kiwi.
“Now we have to of and do it in the Shootout. It was hard, the conditions at the last corner made it hard. I can’t believe we’re where we are, I was a bit worried for a minute.”
Chaz Mostert and Jamie Whincup both shored up Shootout spots with late improvement, while Whincup’s team-mate Shane van Gisbergen, like McLaughlin, had to improve at the end to make it in.
Penske’s Fabian Coulthard was fifth fastest, ahead of Rick Kelly, Scott Pye, Mark Winterbottom, and Race 2 winner James Courtney, who had to have a small fire extinguished from under his HRT Commodore's bonnet mid-way through the session.
Cam Waters was the biggest shock of the session, the newcomer sneaking into the Shootout with 10th.
Some big names did miss the cut, however, with Michael Caruso slipping down from third to 11th in the closing minutes after failing to improve after the red flag.
Will Davison and Garth Tander also narrowly missed out, while Craig Lowndes will start way down in 17th.