Newcastle Supercars: Van Gisbergen leads all-Red Bull front-row
Shane van Gisbergen will start the first leg of this weekend's Supercars title decider from pole position, while teammate Jamie Whincup kept Scott McLaughlin off the front row.
Fabian Coulthard set the pace on the first runs, his 1m10.769s leaving him ahead of the two title contenders. There was almost nothing between the top three, however, with Shane van Gisbergen 0.001s off Coulthard despite a lock-up on his lap, and McLaughlin, who brushed the wall, just 0.002s further back.
The middle phase of the 20-minute session saw the contenders edge away from the field, McLaughlin taking over top spot with a 1m10.714s only to be immediately topped by van Gisbergen's 1m10.643s.
With neither of the contenders improving on their final run, that lap proved good enough to secure a crucial pole for van Gisbergen. McLaughlin, however, was trumped at the flag by Whincup, the Red Bull Holden driver one of the few to make a meaningful gain on the third run.
“There’s definitely a lot of pressure, but the car was awesome, the guys did a great job," said van Gisbergen.
“It’s step one, the race is where it counts. But it’s the perfect spot so I’m stoked.”
McLaughlin added: “That was tough. I hit the wall a number of times just trying to get the most out of it.
“It was a lot harder to drive today than yesterday, I think we made some changes that weren’t right.
“Yesterday we’d hit [the inside kerb at Turn 1] and it’d be just like a little speed hump, but today it flies a little bit too long and I end up in the wall.
“After the last one I think I’d bent the car a little bit.
“But we’re there, we’re not far away, it just wasn’t quite enough for pole.”
Coulthard's early lap was good enough for fourth, while Lee Holdsworth was the surprise package of the session with the fifth quickest time.
Anton De Pasquale edged Erebus teammate David Reynolds in sixth and seventh, ahead of late improvers James Courtney and Craig Lowndes.
Nick Percat round out the Top 10, with Rick Kelly the best of the Nissan's in 11th.
There wasn't a single Tickford Ford near the pointy end of the field, Cam Waters the best of the Falcons way down in 16th.
|1||97||Shane van Gisbergen||Holden Commodore ZB||1'10.6430|
|2||1||Jamie Whincup||Holden Commodore ZB||1'10.6597||0.0167|
|3||17||Scott McLaughlin||Ford Falcon FG X||1'10.7142||0.0712|
|4||12||Fabian Coulthard||Ford Falcon FG X||1'10.7693||0.1263|
|5||18||Lee Holdsworth||Holden Commodore ZB||1'10.7693||0.1263|
|6||99||Anton De Pasquale||Holden Commodore ZB||1'10.7912||0.1482|
|7||9||David Reynolds||Holden Commodore ZB||1'10.7951||0.1521|
|8||25||James Courtney||Holden Commodore ZB||1'10.8657||0.2227|
|9||888||Craig Lowndes||Holden Commodore ZB||1'10.9953||0.3523|
|10||8||Nick Percat||Holden Commodore ZB||1'11.0437||0.4007|
|11||15||Rick Kelly||Nissan Altima||1'11.0613||0.4183|
|12||2||Scott Pye||Holden Commodore ZB||1'11.0776||0.4346|
|13||21||Tim Blanchard||Holden Commodore ZB||1'11.0836||0.4406|
|14||14||Tim Slade||Holden Commodore ZB||1'11.1472||0.5042|
|15||19||Jack Le Brocq||Holden Commodore ZB||1'11.1898||0.5468|
|16||100||Cameron Waters||Ford Falcon FG X||1'11.2328||0.5898|
|17||55||Chaz Mostert||Ford Falcon FG X||1'11.2607||0.6177|
|18||35||Todd Hazelwood||Ford Falcon FG X||1'11.2628||0.6198|
|19||78||Simona de Silvestro||Nissan Altima||1'11.2810||0.6380|
|20||23||Michael Caruso||Nissan Altima||1'11.3061||0.6631|
|21||34||James Golding||Holden Commodore ZB||1'11.3536||0.7106|
|22||5||Mark Winterbottom||Ford Falcon FG X||1'11.3835||0.7405|
|23||33||Garth Tander||Holden Commodore ZB||1'11.3843||0.7413|
|24||230||Will Davison||Ford Falcon FG X||1'11.4685||0.8255|
|25||56||Richie Stanaway||Ford Falcon FG X||1'11.4809||0.8379|
|26||7||Andre Heimgartner||Nissan Altima||1'11.4826||0.8396|
McLaughlin "starting from zero" in title fight approach
Newcastle Supercars: Van Gisbergen beats McLaughlin with last-lap pass