Phillip Island V8s: Winterbottom storms to crucial pole

Points leader Mark Winterbottom will start today’s crucial 200-kilometre race at Phillip Island from pole position.

Phillip Island V8s: Winterbottom storms to crucial pole
Mark Winterbottom, Prodrive Racing Australia Ford and Craig Lowndes, Triple Eight Race Engineering Holden
Mark Winterbottom, Prodrive Racing Australia Ford
Craig Lowndes, Triple Eight Race Engineering Holden
Scott Pye, DJR Team Penske Ford
Scott McLaughlin, Garry Rogers Motorsport Volvo

The Prodrive Racing Australia driver was towards the back end of the Top 10 after the first run of the 20-minute session, four-tenths behind early pace-setter Jamie Whincup.

But the series leader hit back hard on the all-important second run, a cracking 1m30.676s leaving him on pole by a whopping two-tenths of a second.

“It’s awesome. We’re been looking for car speed, and we’ve found it,” said Winterbottom.

“It’s nice to have speed. It was a good lap, hanging it out, but the car was nice. If you’ve got a good car you can drive it. If not, you’ve got to fight your battles.”

Craig Lowndes also found a gain on his second run, but it wasn’t quite enough to seal pole. Still, the veteran wound up P2 – meaning the two main title contenders will start today’s 150-point race next to each other.

Whincup qualified third fastest after struggling to make much of a gain on his second run. His chances took a beating when he ran wide on the entry to Turn 1 on his first flyer of the second stint, and while he did improve on the second he was still three-tenths behind pole-sitter Winterbottom.

Scott McLaughlin and Scott Pye kept their good weekends going with fourth and fifth respectively, ahead of Nissan pair Michael Caruso and Rick Kelly.

David Reynolds and Shane van Gisbergen will be sharing racetrack again today, the two bitter rivals qualifying eighth and ninth in the wake of their on and off track clash yesterday.

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