Shane van Gisbergen will start both of today’s Supercars sprint races from pole position, after topping two qualifying sessions at Pukekohe.
In the first 10-minute session, to determine the grid for today’s first race, van Gisbergen snared pole despite not improving on his second run.
The Kiwi was one of the few to not improve, but the 1m02.512s was still good enough to bag him pole for the first heat of his home race.
Teammate Jamie Whincup was second fastest with a last-second lap, falling just 0.005s short of van Gisbergen, while Scott McLaughlin and Mark Winterbottom staged a see-sawing battle for third across the three-lap second run, McLaughlin coming out on top to the tune of 0.03s.
The Holden Racing Team enjoyed a strong session, Garth Tander and James Courtney popping up in fifth and sixth on their second runs, while Rick Kelly was the best-placed Nissan in seventh.
Scott Pye, Michael Caruso, and Chaz Mostert rounded out the Top 10, while Craig Lowndes struggled with traffic and was just 21st fastest.
SVG doubles up
Van Gisbergen pulled the same trick in the second session, grabbing pole for today’s second race with a lap on his first run. This time he charged out of the gate and straight down to a 1m02.218s. Once again he failed to improve on his second run, even spinning at Turn 5 while trying to go quicker, and once again it didn’t matter.
“It’s been awesome,” he said. “The car has been fantastic all week, we’re in a good spot for this afternoon. It’s a pretty special moment. The job’s not done, but I’m so stoked.”
Whincup ended up second again, this time 0.04s behind his teammate, after also not improving on his second run. He did set a purple first sector on the first lap of his second run before out-braking himself into Turn 5. A lap later he was held up by van Gisbergen’s spin, putting paid to any shot at pole.
Mostert made decent gains in the second session to jump on to third on his final run, while Fabian Coulthard and Will Davison were big improvers as well, ending the session fourth and fifth.
Winterbottom will start the second race from P6, Caruso P7, while McLaughlin dropped back to eighth in the second session.
Scott Pye made it two Penske Fords in the Top 10 with ninth, while David Reynolds turned his promising practice pace into P10.
Lowndes again missed the Top 10, slotting in to 13th, ahead of Rick Kelly, Tander, and Courtney, all of whom made the first 10 in the first session.
One driver who didn’t take part in the second session was Tim Slade. The Brad Jones Racing driver swiped the wall on the outside of the main straight on the final lap of the first session, which left him sidelined for the second.
“It was a little driver error,” he explained. “I tried to get the car turned with the throttle. I gave it a bit of gas, and it just lifted the front and gave it a bit of understeer. There was no recovery from there.”