Pukekohe Supercars: Whincup pips McLaughlin for pole by 0.005s
Jamie Whincup edged title rival Scott McLaughlin by just 0.005s to secure pole position for today's crucial 200-kilometre race at Pukekohe.
It was McLaughlin that set the first representative time of the 20-minute session, the DJR Team Penske driver with a 1m03.053s on his opening run.
By the time the session was four minutes old Shane van Gisbergen had broken into the 1m02s, with a 1m02.958s to go fastest. That time lasted barely a minute, before Mark Winterbottom banked an impressive 1m02.673s to claim top spot.
At the midway point of thesession Winterbottom improved to a 1m02.588s, although that wasn't enough to stop McLaughlin storming to the top with a 1m02.520s.
That gave the Penske Ford the advantage heading into the final shootout in the final three minutes of the session, but ultimately it wasn't enough. Unable to improve on the final run, McLaughlin was denied by a stunning 1m02.514s from Whincup with 90 seconds to go, just 0.005s separating the pair.
The pole is just Whincup's second of the season.
"The car was good, we really maximised that last lap," said Whincup.
"Heading out with green tyres, I had to pull it all out. I took a risk; I could have ended up P20, but got the pole."
Chaz Mostert improved on his final run to grab third, his 1m02.535s leaving him just 0.02s off pole, while Winterbottom ended up fourth with a 1m02.572s on his final lap.
Cam Waters capped off an impressive session for Prodrive Racing with in the inside of the third row, ahead of Tim Slade, who made a small gain on his final run to qualify sixth.
Yesterday's race winner Shane van Gisbergen went from 11th before the final runs to seventh with a 1m02.776s, edging out fellow title long-shot Fabian Coulthard.
James Moffat and David Reynolds rounded out the Top 10.
In a remarkably close session, the top 23 cars were separated by less than a second, while the entire 26-car spread was just 1.4s.
|1||88||Jamie Whincup||Holden Commodore VF||1'02.5148|
|2||17||Scott McLaughlin||Ford Falcon FG-X||1'02.5203||0.0055|
|3||55||Chaz Mostert||Ford Falcon FG-X||1'02.5356||0.0208|
|4||5||Mark Winterbottom||Ford Falcon FG-X||1'02.5723||0.0575|
|5||6||Cameron Waters||Ford Falcon FG-X||1'02.6307||0.1159|
|6||14||Tim Slade||Holden Commodore VF||1'02.7379||0.2231|
|7||97||Shane van Gisbergen||Holden Commodore VF||1'02.7767||0.2619|
|8||12||Fabian Coulthard||Ford Falcon FG/X||1'02.8333||0.3185|
|9||34||James Moffat||Holden Commodore VF||1'02.8608||0.3460|
|10||9||David Reynolds||Holden Commodore VF||1'02.8944||0.3796|
|11||33||Garth Tander||Holden Commodore VF||1'02.9093||0.3945|
|12||888||Craig Lowndes||Holden Commodore VF||1'02.9402||0.4254|
|13||23||Michael Caruso||Nissan Altima||1'02.9407||0.4259|
|14||18||Lee Holdsworth||Holden Commodore VF||1'02.9650||0.4502|
|15||8||Nick Percat||Holden Commodore VF||1'02.9705||0.4557|
|16||15||Rick Kelly||Nissan Altima||1'02.9720||0.4572|
|17||19||Will Davison||Holden Commodore VF||1'02.9973||0.4825|
|18||56||Jason Bright||Ford Falcon FG-X||1'03.0178||0.5030|
|19||2||Scott Pye||Holden Commodore VF||1'03.0221||0.5073|
|20||22||James Courtney||Holden Commodore VF||1'03.0664||0.5516|
|21||7||Todd Kelly||Nissan Altima||1'03.1051||0.5903|
|22||99||Dale Wood||Holden Commodore VF||1'03.3685||0.8537|
|23||78||Simona de Silvestro||Nissan Altima||1'03.4227||0.9079|
|24||21||Tim Blanchard||Holden Commodore VF||1'03.5416||1.0268|
|25||62||Jack Perkins||Holden Commodore VF||1'03.6548||1.1400|
|26||3||Aaren Russell||Holden Commodore VF||1'03.9883||1.4735|
No stewards inquiry into Reynolds/Coulthard clash
Pukekohe Supercars: Whincup wins tense second race