Saturday was a day to remember for championship leaders Erebus Motorsport, which claimed a front row lockout for Sunday’s Penrite Oil Sandown 500.
Series leader Brodie Kostecki topped qualifying, before Will Brown turned the tables and scored pole in the ARMOR ALL Top Ten Shootout.
Kostecki was last man out, but was unable to beat Brown’s time, helping the latter to his fourth pole of the season, first since Townsville, and first at Sandown.
With both Coca-Cola Camaros at the front, Erebus recorded an achievement at the Sandown 500 last seen in 1998 — the year Brown was born.
Erebus became the first team since the Holden Racing Team 25 years ago to lock out the front row of a Sandown 500.
On that occasion, Greg Murphy beat Mark Skaife in the 1998 Shootout by a scant 0.0216s. As it was on Saturday, there were six Fords in the one-lap dash, but none of them scored top honours.
The 1998 race was eventually won by Larry Perkins and Russell Ingall, with the Perkins/Ingall Castrol Commodore starting 10th after Perkins initially qualified seventh.
Ironically, Brown is sharing his #9 Coca-Cola Camaro with Larry’s son Jack, who made his main game debut in the 2006 enduros.
For the record, Skate and Craig Lowndes finished second, and Murphy and Mark Noske sixth. John Bowe, racing with Cameron McConville, qualified third in the Shootout and finished third.
Saturday wasn’t Erebus’ first Sandown 500 pole, with David Reynolds and Luke Youlden combining to claim pole for the 2018 race when grids were set by combined sprint race points.
Saturday’s Shootout was the first for a Sandown 500 since 2007, which was won by Mark Winterbottom, who shared the front row with James Courtney.
For Brown, Saturday was mere relief after a shocking OTR SuperSprint, which saw the Queenslander crash out of Race 20 and fail to score a top 10 finish.
“It’s nice to not be a second off Brodie this weekend, so that’s good,” said Brown, who is fourth in the championship.
“But yeah, it means a lot. Tailem Bend was a tough round, crashing out in the first one and then made a couple of mistakes in the other ones.
“To come back and get pole position’s really exciting and probably makes it that little bit better as well. Hopefully we can piece it together.
"The enduros, you sort of put them on their own pedestal and you want to win the Sandown 500, you want to win the Bathurst 1000, but it also goes towards your points at the end of the year.
“So, it’d be good if we can finish right up there and get a fair few points from this.”
Sunday’s action starts with the Warm Up 10:10am AEST, followed by the 500km race itself at 2:15pm.