Scott McLaughlin scorched to his seventh ARMOR ALL Pole Award of the season in the Top 10 Shootout ahead of Race 12 at Hidden Valley.
McLaughlin was the last man out in the session courtesy of his earlier qualifying effort and did not disappoint, clocking a 1:05.72s to be 0.3s clear of Jamie Whincup.
CLICK HERE for the full Top 10 Shootout result.
“I didn’t think a 5.7 would be possible because the track was very greasy,” said McLaughlin.
“But the car was fantastic. We had a think about our bars (anti-rollbar settings) and just got it done. It was awesome.
“It’s hard in the car because that crazy Frenchman (engineer Ludo Lacroix) blocks up all the air ducts. It’s hot, but I’m just stoked for all our partners.”
Although surprised by the margin, Whincup said his Red Bull HRT crew shouldn’t be disheartened by the result.
“It’s a long way,” he said of the gap.
“The car is good and we got a good lap in but those boys are certainly operating at a different level.
“We’ve got some work to do but we’re not disheartened by it. We’ll keep our heads down and motor on.”
James Moffat starred in the session and will start third for Garry Rogers Motorsport on his 33rd birthday.
“The car has been quick all weekend,” said Moffat, who had qualified fifth.
“Our test day after Winton was really, really good for us. I’m enjoying working with Garth (Tander) progressing the cars. Hopefully we can finish it off in the race today.”
Fabian Coulthard managed just fourth, 0.5s adrift of team-mate McLaughlin, ahead of fellow Kiwi Shane van Gisbergen.
“We’ve got quick cars but we just can’t seem to make it work on a new tyre,” said Coulthard.
“We need to have a long, hard look to work out why but there’s no better car to have then the fastest one next door so we’ve got some good information to look at.”
Lee Holdsworth improved one place from his qualifying position to be sixth from David Reynolds, Cameron Waters, Craig Lowndes and Nick Percat.
Reynolds had been fourth in qualifying but lost time with a slide at the exit of Turn 5.
The 200km Race 12 is scheduled to start at 1330 local time.