Jamie Whincup has stopped Shane van Gisbergen’s run of pole positions at home, stealing the final P1 start in New Zealand with a 1min02.6857 lap in the final 10-minute qualifying session.
Van Gisbergen was quick enough to slot in behind to take a front row start, just 0.0161sec behind the six-time champ, who he battles in the championship and for the Jason Richards Memorial Trophy this weekend.
Whincup said a quick change between runs improved the car for the second qualifying session.
“Happy days, I didn’t quite nail it on the first one, but old [engineer David] Cauchi made a tune for the second and she’s a rocket,” he said, accepting the ARMOR ALL cheque.
Young guns and yesterday’s podium placers Scott McLaughlin and Chaz Mostert were right behind, with Kiwi McLaughlin disappointed three-hundredths of a second was all that separated him from a home pole position.
“I tried so hard man, gutted but third’s awesome – don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to be a spoilt brat, it would’ve topped the weekend off to get pole, but we’ll see how we go in a race,” the Volvo driver said.
“It’s so good for the sport to be so close and having a dip there. I love those sessions, just wish we’d come out on top.”
Mark Winterbottom completed the top five and early P2 sitter Scott Pye dropped to eighth in that run.
James Moffat cracked the top 10 in that run, but is under investigation for short-cutting the circuit during the session.