SVG edges McLaughlin to provisional pole

  • Virgin Australia Supercars Championship
  • |
  • 03/03/2017
  • By Lewis Isaacs

Just 0.0001 seconds separated Shane van Gisbergen and Scott McLaughlin as the defending series champion took provision pole for Race 1 at the Clipsal 500.

McLaughlin’s 1:19.7807s was the fastest time of the day when it was set at the halfway mark of the 20 minute session before van Gisbergen pipped him at the climax.

The Shell V-Power Ford did not improve on its final run, leaving Van Gisbergen to take first blood ahead of tomorrow's Top 10 Shootout.

“I went to the toilet before qualifying so maybe that was it," smiled Van Gisbergen when asked of the tiny margin.

“The car wasn’t good this morning but we worked hard to make it comfortable.

"The car is fast on this new tyre and I’m really liking it."

Despite being edged for provisional pole, McLaughlin was equally as thrilled with his performance.

“I’m stoked, I’m over the moon,” he beamed.

“A lot of hard work has gone in and to start like this is fantastic.”

Welcoming the challenge from the Penske owned Ford squad, Van Gisbergen noted similarities between their cars following engineer Ludo Lacroix's shift over the off-season. 

“I followed Scotty’s car earlier today and it just looked like one of ours," he said.

"Obviously Ludo has plugged a bit of that set-up in!

"We expected them to be up there. It’s good to have that competition."

Rick Kelly continued his impressive form this weekend, setting the third best time ahead of James Courtney and Chaz Mostert.

Fabian Coulthard was sixth fastest ahead of Jamie Whincup, who was mired to the lower end of the timesheets until his final run.

Mark Winterbottom and Cameron Waters made it three Prodrive Fords in the Shootout in eighth and ninth ahead of Erebus Motorsport’s David Reynolds, who survived a brush with the Turn 11 tyre wall that opened his car's right-rear door.

Despite fast times in practice, Brad Jones Racing remains a notable absence from the Shootout, with Nick Percat and Tim Slade to start tomorrow's race 11th and 12th respectively.

CLICK HERE for the full qualifying result.

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