Payne thrills Kiwi fans with Taupō finale pole

21 Apr
Kiwi fans' delight has continued in Taupō, with Matt Payne scoring pole for the finale
  • Matt Payne delights Kiwi fans with Taupō finale pole

  • Payne unable to be beaten by final three drivers

  • Penrite Ford driver to share front row with Broc Feeney

Rising Kiwi star Matt Payne has delighted New Zealand fans with a brilliant performance to claim pole for the ITM Taupō Super400.

In a thrilling Boost Mobile Top Ten Shootout, Payne hung on to add to his Albert Park pole despite being the seventh driver out in the one-lap dash.

The #19 Penrite Ford held onto top spot on the time sheets as the final three drivers rolled out, with Payne securing his second career pole position.

Will Brown, Chaz Mostert and Anton De Pasquale were all unable to improve, with Payne and Broc Feeney benefiting from changing track conditions to claim the front row.

“Yeah, it's unbelievable, isn't it? Managed to get the lap together there," said Payne, who was turned around and later penalised in Saturday's race.

"Really crucial to warm the tyres up, it's so cold today, so managed to do a good job there. Just put together a pretty clean lap I thought.

“Margins are so close, what a way to start a Sunday, We executed in qualifying, we executed yesterday in qualifying, just didn't quite have the luck on our side, but today we definitely have the luck and it's really good so far.

payne pole taupo team 2024

“It's amazing, even on the in lap for the shootout lap there, I just saw, fans along the whole fence, everyone clapping, it's unbelievable.

“I've never experienced something like it, and it's something that means a lot to me, for all the fans, wearing our merchandise, supporting me and the team, it's crazy, I never thought, you know, something like this would happen in my life.

“Some things you dream of... we've just got to execute this afternoon and get that race win.”

Returning champion Brodie Kostecki ended up third ahead of provisional pole-sitter De Pasquale, with Brown fifth and Mostert ninth.

Jack Le Brocq was sixth ahead of Thomas Randle and Tim Slade, with Mostert and teammate Ryan Wood making it an all-Walkinshaw Andretti United fifth row.

ONBOARD: Payne powers to pole in Taupō Shootout

Randle was first out in his #55 Castrol Ford, and set a 1:27.3073s. Le Brocq (#9 TFH Hire Chevrolet) improved with a 1:27:2891s, before Kostecki #1 TFH Hire Chevrolet) put 0.4s on his teammate with a 1:26.8479s.

Slade (#23 PremiAir Nulon Chevrolet) was unable to dislodge Kostecki, before Feeney (#88 Red Bull Ampol Chevrolet) just edged ahead of the reigning champion by just 0.0180s.

WAU rookie Wood (#2 Mobil 1 Truck Assist Ford) bowled a wide at the final chicane, consigning him to 10th. The New Zealander was followed by compatriot Payne, who dropped in a 1:26.8173s to reset the benchmark.

Brown, Mostert and De Pasquale were all unable to beat Payne's time, with the Penrite Racing driver adding to home fans' excitement following Andre Heimgartner's victory in Saturday's race.

Heimgartner leads the Jason Richards Memorial Trophy standings, but will launch from 11th for Sunday's finale, which will start at 1:05pm AEST/3:05pm NZST.

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