Penrite Racing driver David Reynolds has expressed his relief at defying a huge scare to secure a front-row slot for the opening Superloop Adelaide 500 race.
Smoke began to gush out of Reynolds’ Commodore on his warm-up lap for the ARMOR ALL Top 10 Shootout, sparking fears his shot at pole would be over before it had begun.
The 34-year-old pressed on and subsequently lit up the timing screens, recording the fastest time through the second sector.
He finished just shy of Whincup’s time that ultimately would hold strong for pole, but it was enough to ensure Reynolds will start Race 1 from the front-row.
“I first realised I had a problem out of Turn 11, the smoke started coming in on my warm-up lap and I thought I was in a Cheech and Chong movie,” Reynolds laughed.
“There was smoke coming in, I started my lap and it started getting worse and worse and I'm like 'my engine is gone, it's done'.
“I got through [Turn] 1 and I'm like 'aw, it's not too bad'… and then got onto the back straight and I got on the radio and said 'we're done Al [McVean, race engineer], shut it off' and he's like 'nah keep going, sectors are good'.
“Pushed hard through [Turn] 8, I was committed; if something let go there I was in the fence hard.
“Finished my lap pretty well, last corner there was so much smoke coming in I could barely see the track.
“The boys did a good job… good start to the year. I'm just disappointed I missed pole.”
Team boss Barry Ryan hinted at a possible power steering issue being the cause of the smoke.
A power steering fluid leak on Jack Le Brocq’s Mustang earlier in qualifying had similarly caused smoke to pour out of his car.
“We were a bit nervous when he tipped it into Turn 8, thinking 'what's going to go wrong here', but lucky he got through the lap,” Ryan said.
“Maybe just a bit of debris or something got in there and hurt the power steering or something.
“We saw his run out of [Turn] 7 and Al decided there's nothing wrong with it.
“It was up to Dave then, if he wasn't happy he would've backed off.”
Anton De Pasquale was a solid eighth, completing a good start to proceedings for Penrite Racing.