Jamie Whincup and Scott McLaughlin have secured a pole position each for this afternoon’s two races at Phillip Island.
In the first 10-minute session, Whincup took pole position despite no improving on his second run. The Triple Eight driver started out on green tyres, banking a 1m31.085s on his first flying lap. Even though he failed to improve on his second run on the same rubber, that time was good enough to seal pole for today’s first race.
McLaughlin earned himself a front-row start thanks to a 1m31.175s on his second run, while Craig Lowndes was the best of the title contenders with P3.
His points rivals weren’t far behind, though, with David Reynolds making up 19 spots on his second run to bank fourth, while Mark Winterbottom was fifth with the time he did on his first run.
The second session was a more traditional last-lap shootout, McLaughlin storming to the Race 2 pole with a 1m30.753s right on the flag.
That lap denied Whincup a double pole, the outgoing champion having been fastest up until McLaughin’s flyer.
Lowndes was P3 again, while Winterbottom was one of the few drivers to set his best time on his first run, winding up fourth. Reynolds was fifth.
“We’ve come a long way this year, and had a lot of tough times,” said McLaughlin. “Five poles; I never thought we’d have that mid-way through this season. Big effort.”
Whincup, meanwhile, was disappointed not to grab both poles.
“We made a gain in between sessions, we maximised, and we got done,” he said. “It’s deflating. Smashed by a tenth in the last corner… I don’t know how.
“I should be happier than what I am. Hopefully we have a good racecar this arvo.”