A lap record time in the Top 15 Shootout has given Scott McLaughlin ARMOR ALL Pole for the Saturday night race at the Truck Assist Sydney SuperSprint.
McLaughlin was just the fifth man out in the Shootout amid a three-stage qualifying format spiced up by the weekend’s limited allocation of soft tyres.
The Shell Mustang driver recorded a 1:27.7428s that would not be beaten by any of the 10 remaining runners and narrowly undercut his own track record from three weeks ago.
Running directly after McLaughlin, Shane van Gisbergen got closest but ultimately fell 0.2756s short in his Red Bull Holden Racing Team Commodore.
“I’m pretty stoked, the car was awesome then,” beamed McLaughlin.
“You always feel like this is happy hour now, you can go really fast in these times and these conditions and the car felt really good, I’m really comfortable with it on soft tyres.
“We need to make a little bit better on hards but overall I’m really happy with it.”
Cameron Waters was an even bigger Shootout mover, running first and setting a time that proved good enough for third in his Monster Energy Mustang.
Jamie Whincup was second out and ended up fourth ahead of Lee Holdsworth and Fabian Coulthard, who topped Q2 and was therefore the final Shootout contender.
The Holdens of Mark Winterbottom, Anton De Pasquale, Macauley Jones, Bryce Fullwood, Nick Percat, David Reynolds filled seventh through 12th.
While the top dozen used soft tyres in the Shootout, Chaz Mostert, Chris Pither and Todd Hazelwood completed the order on the hards.
The bulk of the fancied runners progressed to the Shootout by using only hard tyres in the first two segments.
The top four in Q2, Coulthard, Percat, De Pasquale and Reynolds, as well as Pither and Jones, all used a set of softs to progress.
De Pasquale, Pither and Jones had also used that strategy to get out of Q1.
Those eliminated in Q2 and therefore starting 16th through 20th were Scott Pye, James Courtney, Jack Le Brocq, Garry Jacobson and Andre Heimgartner.
Rounding out the field will be the Q1 casualties Rick Kelly, Alex Davison, Jack Smith and Zane Goddard, marking a tough start to the event for Kelly Racing.
“The guys up on the front on the hard tyre are as fast as our cars are on the soft at the moment, so we have got a little bit of work to do,” lamented Kelly.
“For that reason we decided not to put the softs in today’s basket and burn them up. We need to improve the car and try to maximise them tomorrow.”
The first of three races for the weekend will take place under lights from 6:25pm AEST.
Starting grid for Race 10 at Sydney Motorsport Park
1. Scott McLaughlin
2. Shane van Gisbergen
3. Cameron Waters
4. Jamie Whincup
5. Lee Holdsworth
6. Fabian Coulthard
7. Mark Winterbottom
8. Anton De Pasquale
9. Macauley Jones
10. Bryce Fullwood
11. Nick Percat
12. David Reynolds
13. Chaz Mostert
14. Chris Pither
15. Todd Hazelwood
16. Scott Pye
17. James Courtney
18. Jack Le Brocq
19. Garry Jacobson
20. Andre Heimgartner
21. Rick Kelly
22. Alex Davison
23. Jack Smith
24. Zane Goddard