Jamie Whincup has survived a late lunge by Scott McLaughlin to claim provisional pole for Sunday’s Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000.
Whincup set a best time of 2 min 05.0481 sec in the Red Bull Holden Commodore VF, just 0.1031 sec ahead of the Wilson Security GRM Volvo S60.
“Great fun, really good fun, a new tyre on a good car around this place lets you know you’re alive,” Whincup said.
“I thought we’d go quicker than that … the number doesn’t mean anything, it’s the position. Very happy to be provisional pole, we just have to do it in the shootout.
“The car’s very good, absolutely no complaints about car speed.”
Added McLaughlin: “I didn’t quite get it together that whole session and that one I got it the best I could. It’s an awesome feeling getting it right. We thought we were safe but thought ‘let’s have a crack and see what we’ve got’ – that’s what we’ve got!”
Tim Slade did a brilliant job despite a faulty dash to claim third fastest in the BJR Holden, while Chaz Mostert set fourth fastest time in the Supercheap Auto Ford Falcon FG X to qualify for the traditional Saturday afternoon ARMOR ALL Top 10 shootout for the first time.
Fabian Coulthard was fifth fastest, pursued by VASC championship leader Shane van Gisbergen. Defending VASC champion Mark Winterbottom was seventh fastest, with Scott Pye, Garth Tander and Michael Caruso completing the top 10, the Nissan Altima driver qualifying for his first top 10 shootout.
“It’s just a relief to finally get one away, particularly when we’ve been so close so many times and for various reasons haven’t made it,” said Caruso. “The car was brilliant then, we had a better lap under our belt but the red flag hurt us.”
Defending race winner Craig Lowndes posted his worst ever Bathurst 1000 qualifying in only 21st position.
“I probably didn’t do a clean job, the car wasn’t perfect either. Between all of us we didn’t get the best out of it,” Lowndes said.
“We’d struggle to get into the 10, to be honest… We’ve made sure the car is a nice race car and that’s all we can hope for now.
“I smacked the wall on that last run … it’s just unfortunate, but that’s motor racing we’ve still got 161 laps on Sunday.”
Other disappointing results included James Courtney in 16th and Will Davison 17th. Less than one second covered the top 18 qualifiers.
The Harvey Norman Supergirls will start second last on the grid after Simon de Silvestro triggered a red flag by running off and bogging in the Chase sand trap. A red flag results in automatic exclusion from qualifying.
Shae Davies suffered the same fates in the Erebus Commodore and will start from last on the grid.