Despite qualifying on ARMOR ALL Pole Position Jamie Whincup has declared the Nissan Altimas will be very hard to beat in today’s 60/60 Super Sprint at the Winton 360.
The Red Bull Holden Commodore driver’s prediction seems well placed considering Norton Hornet Michael Caruso appeared set to snatch an historic first pole for the Nissan team in the dying seconds of qualifying only to run off a bog at the last turn of the track.
His Nissan teammate James Moffat, who set the pace on Friday and in practice this morning, will start third on the grid with Lockwood Racing Commodore VF driver Fabian Coulthard fourth.
The top 14 on the grid are separated by less than 0.2 seconds.
This is by far the best qualifying result for Nissan since it joined the V8 Supercars Championship this year, the tight nature of the circuit negating their horsepower disadvantage.
Whincup said the Nissan also had an aerodynamic downforce advantage: “Those rice cookers are extremely quick and we knew we had to be on our A-game to maximise and lucky they didn’t maximise so we will take the pole.
“They have huge aero, so around a little track like this where it’s all aero and no power required they should go well.
“They are going to be tough to beat because more aero means they don’t wear their tyres out as much because they are not skating around as much.”
Caruso, who is celebrating the birth of his first daughter Lola 10 days ago, said his mistake was simply the result of attacking as hard as he could.
“It was a case of win it or bin it, we just wanted to go for it,” said Caruso. “When you go well you just attack and that’s my driving style.”
Caruso said he was encouraged for this afternoon’s racing because the Nissans had generally moved forward from their qualifying position.
“Moving forward in this race from where we qualified would be very good!”