McLaughlin trumps Coulthard ahead of Shootout
- By Stefan Bartholomaeus
- Virgin Australia Supercars Championship
Scott McLaughlin set the pace in qualifying ahead of the Top 10 Shootout for Race 12 at Hidden Valley, despite completing just one new tyre run in the 20 minute session.
McLaughlin spent most of the session atop the order thanks to early speed on used tyres, only briefly bumped to second by team-mate Fabian Coulthard just past halfway.
Returning to the top with a 1:05.68s on his green tyres, McLaughlin then sat in the garage for the final five minutes while the remainder of the field failed to beat his time.
Coulthard was one of many not to improve late and ended up 0.14s adrift ahead of Jamie Whincup, David Reynolds, James Moffat, Shane van Gisbergen, Lee Holdsworth, Craig Lowndes, Cameron Waters and Nick Percat.
CLICK HERE of the full Race 12 qualifying result.
Tim Slade missed the Shootout after proving just 0.0002s adrift of Brad Jones Racing team-mate Percat.
Yesterday’s pole-sitter Rick Kelly, whose team worked until midnight to fix the damage from his Race 11 crash, could manage no better than 12th.
“The track changes that little bit in that 20 minutes and it’s enough to upset your qualifying routine,” he said.
“We timed it very well yesterday, the track was at its best when we delivered at the start of the session.
“Today we thought it’d be better towards the end of the session as it was last year and we were a little bit mistaken.”
Fifth was a strong result for birthday boy James Moffat, who was just 0.2s shy of former team-mate McLaughlin.
“The job was just to get in the Shootout,” he said. “Qualifying has been our weakness by a long way this year so to get in the Shootout is nice.”
Moffat’s new team-mate Garth Tander was just 19th and survived a wild moment on the front straight when Alex Rullo exited the pits straight into his path.
“It was like Sydney traffic. They all just went everywhere,” said Tander.
“As I was crossing the line I could see them all coming out of pitlane and Rullo changed lanes straight into the fast lane.
“It was almost top speed there. It didn’t hurt the lap but it’s hard to pull the car up when someone does that… and then he weaved at me! It certainly got the heart-rate up.”
Reynolds’ fourth place meanwhile came after work during the session fixed a shiftcut issue that had troubled the Erebus driver during yesterday’s race.
“As soon as I left pitlane I knew it’d come back again and they just started pulling out all these sensors and they managed to fix it,” he said.
“I had two sets of tyres and went two hundredths faster on the second set so obviously I’m maximising the car’s performance.
“We’re just lucky it was a 20 minute session and not 10 minutes because otherwise we probably wouldn’t have made it.”
Waters will be Prodrive’s only Shootout runner after Chaz Mostert and Mark Winterbottom managed just 13th and 20th respectively.
James Courtney’s horror weekend continued in 22nd, six places behind team-mate Scott Pye.
The Top 10 Shootout will take place from 1100 local time.