Mark Winterbottom turned his practice pace into proper qualifying pace at Symmons Plains, taking his first pole position of the season.
The reigning champion was just fourth quickest after the first set of runs around the tight Tasmanian circuit, but improved to the tune of a 0.15s to give him pole by just 0.01s.
“All weekend we’ve had a great car,” said Winterbottom. “Awesome session, and I’m so proud of my team. We’ve bounced back really well.”
The man who narrowly missed out on pole was Craig Lowndes. The Triple Eight driver was fastest after the first run, but nipped a brake on the run into Turn 6 on his crucial second run, which ruined any chance of improving.
“It was more of a lock-up than I expected,” said Lowndes.
“I had a good lap up until that point, caught the front-left going into six, couldn’t release it, and to release it I had to run wide.
“The car feels fine. I’m just disappointed we didn’t get that second run in, because I think the car was good enough for pole.”
Shane van Gisbergen, who had been following team-mate Lowndes when he ran wide on the second run, also failed to improve. Still, he will start third – and was just 0.03s off pole.
Lee Holdsworth was the surprise of the session once again. Having been quick all through yesterday, the Team 18 driver made 11 spots on his final lap to qualify fourth, ahead of Tekno’s Will Davison and Nissan’s Rick Kelly.
Jamie Whincup was just seventh fastest, having also nipped a brake at Turn 6 on his crucial final run, while Scott McLaughlin led the way for Volvo in eighth.
Jason Bright and Fabian Coulthard rounded out the Top 10, ahead of Ford trio Chaz Mostert, Cam Waters, and Scott Pye.