Payne takes first pole, Mostert snaps drought

22 Mar
Matt Payne and Chaz Mostert have shared the honours after two thrilling Boost Mobile Qualifying sessions
  • Matt Payne, Chaz Mostert split Saturday poles at AGP

  • Payne scores first career pole, becomes fourth-youngest pole-sitter

  • Mostert powers to first pole since 2021 Bathurst 1000

Matt Payne and Chaz Mostert have shared the honours after two thrilling Boost Mobile Qualifying sessions at Albert Park on Saturday.

Rising star Payne (#19 Penrite Ford) scored his first career pole, before Walkinshaw Andretti United star Mostert (#25 Mobil 1 Optus Ford) claimed his first pole since Bathurst 2021.

Payne, who will start from first and second for the final two races of the weekend, is now in prime position to chase the Larry Perkins Trophy.

The 21-year-old enters Saturday just 21 points behind leader Will Brown (#87 Red Bull Ampol Chevrolet), who qualified sixth and ninth for the last two races.

Brown’s Red Bull Ampol Racing teammate Broc Feeney (#88 Red Bull Ampol Chevrolet), who is nine points behind the #87 in the Perkins Trophy standings, qualified fourth and sixth.

Tickford Racing star Cam Waters (#6 Monster Energy Ford) qualified second and third for the two races, with Fords locking out the top three in both sessions.

Qualifying Race 5

The first session began in greasy conditions after a brief, light shower, with Richie Stanaway (#26 Penrite Ford) and Cameron Hill (#4 Tyrepower Chevrolet) running down the Turn 11 escape road.

James Golding (#31 PremiAir Nulon Chevrolet) set a 1:47.2050s ahead of James Courtney (#7 Snowy River Caravans Ford) and PremiAir Nulon Racing teammate Tim Slade, before Jack Le Brocq (#9 TFH Hire Chevrolet) set a 1:46.9361s for the field to chase.

Payne moved to second with his first flying lap, a 1:47.1405s, before Brown set the first flyer of the final runs with a 1:46.8726s to take top spot.

The times continued to tumble, first with Mostert going fastest with a 1:48.7642s, before former teammate Waters clocked a 1:46.6614s.

However, Payne went latest of all, and powered in a 1:46.6541s to seal his first career pole, making the young Kiwi the fourth-youngest pole-sitter in Supercars history.

MH2 2041

Race 4 podium-finisher Mark Winterbottom (#18 DEWALT Chevrolet) qualified 17th, and was investigated for impeding. However, no further action was taken.

Payne, who won the 2023 VAILO Adelaide 500, is now eyeing off career win No. 2.


“I’m just thinking of it as giving myself the best opportunity to try and get a good race result, and try and go for the win,” Payne said.

“We have good pace. The Triple Eight cars are fast, but as you saw in qualifying, they probably didn't quite get it right.

"So, we've got a good opportunity. We just need to use that and try and maximise it this afternoon."

Qualifying Race 6

Nick Percat (#10 Bendix Chevrolet) opened proceedings with a 1:46.6713s, with Waters looming to go faster before losing time in the final sector.

Mostert made a statement midway through the session with a 1:46.4835s. However, with three minutes remaining, Payne claimed provisional pole with a 1:46.4335s, with the Kiwi just 0.0500s ahead Mostert.

Eight drivers still hadn’t set a time with three minutes left on the clock, with Payne leading Mostert, Percat, Bryce Fullwood (#14 Middy's Electrical Chevrolet), Feeney, Waters, Anton De Pasquale (#11 Shell V-Power Ford), and Brown.

Waters improved to third with a 1:46.5099s, but all eyes were on Mostert, who fired in a 1:46.3227s to seal his first pole position in over two years, and the 24th of his career.

Andre Heimgartner (#8 R&J Batteries Chevrolet) ended up 24th and last after clouting the wall at Turn 4, and will share the 12th row with Winterbottom.

MH2 2078

"We worked a little bit on the car to maximise our qualifying car,” Mostert said.

“So, to get a third and then first, it's just a big sigh of relief that this old codger still can pump out a lap time.

“We used [new tyres] on that last run there to find that extra tenth of a second. Obviously Matty Payne was right on the limit today. Glad we had it up our sleeve to just have one last crack at it."

Race 5 starts at 5:40pm local time, and will run for 14 laps or one lap after 6:08pm.

The MSS Security Melbourne SuperSprint action will conclude on Sunday with Race 6, which starts at 10:25am, and will run for 14 laps or one lap after 10:53am.

Related News