Coulthard edges McLaughlin to Race 7 pole
- By Stefan Bartholomaeus
- Virgin Australia Supercars Championship
Fabian Coulthard beat Scott McLaughlin to the AMROR ALL Pole Award for the opening race at the Perth SuperSprint as Shell V-Power Racing continued its sizzling qualifying form.
The result marks the third consecutive front-row lockout for the Shell Ford duo following a similar domination at Phillip Island.
Coulthard and McLaughlin shot to the top of the order on their first of two green tyre runs, Coulthard lowering the qualifying record to 54.67s with McLaughlin 0.03s further back.
Neither improved on their final set of tyres, but they remained over 0.3s clear of nearest rival Jamie Whincup – who improved from 14th to third with his final lap.
“It’s a combination of the tyre and how good our car is at the moment,” said Coulthard of his speed.
“It’s a credit to everyone. They’ve given us quick cars and they’re a pleasure to drive.”
Shane van Gisbergen was fourth after surviving a wild moment at Turn 7 on his first new tyre run.
The Red Bull driver came across a gaggle of slow traffic at the end of the back straight, choosing to spear through the grass and gravel on the left-hand side to avoid contact.
Nissan trio Rick Kelly, Todd Kelly and Simona de Silvestro had been on the racing line preparing for their hot laps, forcing Michael Caruso to slow suddenly to avoid his team-mates, before van Gisbergen also arrived at high speed.
Red Bull team manager Mark Dutton was fired up about the incident, calling for the Nissans responsible to be disqualified from the session.
“It started with three of the Nissan cars... It was very, very dangerous,” he said.
“There’s a recommended go point which they totally ignored. It’s quite stupid.
“It shouldn’t be a couple of grid positions they’d be penalised. They should be disqualified from qualifying.
"It's that big a deal. There were almost cars written off then."
Van Gisbergen was rather more subdued: “Everyone is just starting their lap. It happens there. It’s all good,” he said.
“I think everyone wants a half a straight gap and you can’t do that around here. You’ve got to start your lap close to the next car.”
Prodrive pair Chaz Mostert and Mark Winterbottom will share the third row ahead of Will Davison, Lee Holdsworth, Craig Lowndes and Todd Kelly.
De Silvestro ended up a fine 14th, edging out Rick Kelly to be the second fastest Nissan.
The 120km Race 7 of the championship will get underway at 2:45pm local time.
CLICK HERE for the full qualifying result.