Canberra: Paragon Motorsports Saturday summary

McLean's V.I.P. Falcon on pole in Canberra. Cameron McLean will start his V.I.P. Pet Foods Ford Falcon V8 from pole position in tomorrow's second race of the V8 Supercar Stegbar Canberra 400 - a surprise windfall from a car-crunching first race...

McLean's V.I.P. Falcon on pole in Canberra.

Cameron McLean will start his V.I.P. Pet Foods Ford Falcon V8 from pole position in tomorrow's second race of the V8 Supercar Stegbar Canberra 400 - a surprise windfall from a car-crunching first race today.

It will be the 34-year-old Brisbane driver's first pole in his 45-race V8 Supercar Championship career, but one he says he is doubtful about celebrating.

Tomorrow's 25-lapper features a starting grid in reverse of today's finishing order, in which McLean was the 29th and last runner in the 34-car field entered for round five.

"It's a great thing to get my first pole, but the wrong way to get it," he said.

"However, they're the rules and I'll take the opportunity given to me tomorrow and race for nothing less than a win.

"The strategy is to get out there and go for it."

Race one, also over 25 laps or 97.5 kilometres, was a survival test for McLean and the Paragon Motorsport team after the Falcon was damaged in a collision at the first corner on the first lap.

"The field bottlenecks into turn one at the start and I was virtually stopped in traffic behind Anthony Tratt when the Team Kiwi car thumped us in hard in the back," McLean said.

The hit stove-in the bonnet, ripped the left-front guard almost off, destroyed a tyre and bent the suspension, forcing McLean in for an immediate pit stop.

He was back in on lap two and again on lap eight and lap 17, each time to replace a ruined left-front tyre, followed by a final stop on lap 21 to check the car was safe.

McLean said: "The team decided that the most important thing was to finish in order to get championship points and that if we could keep the car running there was a fair chance we'd be near the front tomorrow.

"It was pretty ordinary to drive, but it got me home and will be 100 percent right for race two.

"Tomorrow is definitely another day. We've had some setbacks this year and this is a chance to catch up."

Although McLean has a position advantage, he will have to complete a total of 292.5 km in two races tomorrow on just eight good tyres left from the original allocation of 12.

He predicted the tyres would be adequate for race two, in which he will share the front grid row with Holden's Russell Ingall. Race three is over 50 laps.

Five points earned by finishing today's race lifted McLean one spot in the V8 Supercar Championship Series, to 32nd.

RESULTS: Race 1 (25 laps) McLean 29th. 1 Skaife (Commodore), 2 S. Richards (Commodore), 3 T. Kelly (Commodore), 4 Ambrose (Falcon), 5 Besnard (Falcon).

CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS (after Race 1, round 5): 67 points McLean (32d overall); 1124 Skaife, 577 Murphy, 550 Ambrose.

TIMETABLE: Sunday - 9.10 Warm-up (15 min.), 11.00 Race 2 (25 laps / 97.5 km, reverse grid, tyres), 2.10 Race 3 (50 laps / 195 km, fuel & tyres). TV - Network Ten, Sunday 1.30 - 5.00.

-pm-

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About this article
Series Supercars
Drivers Russell Ingall , Anthony Tratt , Cameron McLean