Sydney Supercars: McLaughlin takes historic night race pole

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Sydney Supercars: McLaughlin takes historic night race pole
By: Andrew van Leeuwen
Aug 4, 2018, 7:30 AM

Scott McLaughlin has secured pole position for tonight's historic Supercars night race at Sydney Motorsport Park with a record-breaking qualifying lap.

The DJR Team Penske driver was untouchable in both qualifying segments, topping Q2 with a 1m28.002s on his final run – to that point the quickest lap of the weekend – before pulling out another last-lap special to grab pole in Q3 with a 1m27.949s.

The pole is McLaughlin's 11th of the season so far, while the lap is over two-tenths faster than his own unofficial SMP lap record set last year.

"“The car was awesome. It was a tough qualifying session, I’m still getting used to those three-stage ones, but it’s great for the fans,” said McLaughlin.

“Into Turn 1, you do have the sun in your face, but once that goes down and the lights go on, it’s going to be great to be part of it. It’s pretty exciting.”

Fabian Coulthard was second-fastest in both Q2 and Q3 to make it an all-Penske front-row, the Kiwi ending up 0.1s behind teammate McLaughlin.

Shane van Gisbergen ended up third on the grid, having to come all the way from Q1. He went under the unofficial lap record himself to top Q1, before cruising out of Q2 with the fourth quickest time.

The title contender then improved on his final run in Q3 to grab third on the grid, and push Nissan driver Rick Kelly to the outside of the front row.

Jamie Whincup had to go the long way as well, which took its toll on the reigning champion come Q3. He opted to save a set of tyres and not go for a final run as the Top 10 was set, relying on an earlier lap that was only good enough for fifth.

“We felt like we did a good job on the first set and we had to use extra sets to get into Q3,” said Whincup.

“We’re not at a tyre disadvantage at the moment, but we would have been if we used the extra set.

“The car wasn’t flash in practice and we could have been anywhere in that run, so I’m happy to be in the top five.

“But we throw all that out the window now. We’ve got to make a fast race car in the dark. We’ll see what happens.”

Scott Pye will start the race from sixth and Chaz Mostert seventh, while David Reynolds, Craig Lowndes, and Michael Caruso all went from Q1 to Q3 to qualify eighth to 10th respectively.

James Courtney was the driver left on the Q2/Q3 bubble, falling 0.08s of a spot in the final segment of qualifying.

Cla # Driver Car Time
1 17 New Zealand Scott McLaughlin Ford Falcon FG X 1'27.9494
2 12 New Zealand Fabian Coulthard Ford Falcon FG X 1'28.0573
3 97 New Zealand Shane van Gisbergen Holden Commodore ZB 1'28.1257
4 15 Australia Rick Kelly Nissan Altima 1'28.1521
5 1 Australia Jamie Whincup Holden Commodore ZB 1'28.1930
6 2 Australia Scott Pye Holden Commodore ZB 1'28.2179
7 55 Australia Chaz Mostert Ford Falcon FG X 1'28.3929
8 9 Australia David Reynolds Holden Commodore ZB 1'28.4712
9 888 Australia Craig Lowndes Holden Commodore ZB 1'28.5306
10 23 Australia Michael Caruso Nissan Altima 1'28.5881
11 25 Australia James Courtney Holden Commodore ZB 1'28.6982
12 14 Australia Tim Slade Holden Commodore ZB 1'28.7224
13 34 Australia James Golding Holden Commodore ZB 1'28.7976
14 5 Australia Mark Winterbottom Ford Falcon FG X 1'28.9033
15 19 Australia Jack Le Brocq Holden Commodore ZB 1'28.9146
16 6 Australia Cameron Waters Ford Falcon FG X 1'29.2290
17 7 New Zealand Andre Heimgartner Nissan Altima 1'28.6040
18 99 Anton de Pasquale Holden Commodore ZB 1'28.6067
19 230 Australia Will Davison Ford Falcon FG X 1'28.6236
20 18 Australia Lee Holdsworth Holden Commodore ZB 1'28.7293
21 8 Australia Nick Percat Holden Commodore ZB 1'28.7665
22 33 Australia Garth Tander Holden Commodore ZB 1'28.8373
23 78 Switzerland Simona de Silvestro Nissan Altima 1'28.8661
24 56 New Zealand Richie Stanaway Ford Falcon FG X 1'29.0648
25 21 Australia Tim Blanchard Holden Commodore ZB 1'29.1599
26 35 Australia Todd Hazelwood Ford Falcon FG X 1'29.3171
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About this article

Series Supercars
Event Sydney
Author Andrew van Leeuwen
Article type Qualifying report