Chaz Mostert is predicting a “super hard” Race 9 at The Bend Motorsport Park should inclement weather remain on Saturday.
Mostert clinched a front row start for the 24-lap race, with Kelly Grove Racing driver Andre Heimgartner peerless en route to a second career pole.
Walkinshaw Andretti United arrived at The Bend buoyed by Mostert’s last-start victory at Symmons Plains.
Third and fifth in the morning’s two practice sessions, Mostert was Heimgartner’s closest challenger in the final segment of qualifying.
WATCH: QUALIFYING 9 HIGHLIGHTS
The end margin between two was 0.212s, with third-placed Erebus Motorsport rookie Will Brown nearly six tenths adrift.
Only three drivers were within a second of Heimgartner, who scored pole despite using the sole set of tyres.
For Mostert, who is 165 points off the championship, Saturday’s race presents another opportunity to close the gap to the leading Red Bull Ampol Racing duo.
“Super pumped for the team to get a front row start,” Mostert said.
WATCH: COURTNEY'S WILD SLIDE IN PRACTICE
“Coming off Tassie, it’s pretty good. Obviously pretty wet conditions here.
“Bit bummed, I wish I had a tenth-and-a-half up my sleeve out there, but the track changes so quick around here.”
The last time Mostert started from second on the grid, he won the race, the 2014 Bathurst winner forcing his way past Cameron Waters in the Symmons Plains finale.
However, with the slippery conditions set to linger for the race, and with Heimgartner confident with his car on wet and dry, Mostert believes the 24-lapper will be a far greater challenge than the last time he rolled out in Tasmania.
“You see the rain on the windscreen, but you don’t really see what it does to the track condition,” Mostert said.
“You send it into the corner the same you did as the last lap, and you’re nearly off.
“If the weather stays around this arvo, it’s going to be a pretty hard race.”
Shane van Gisbergen and Jamie Whincup will launch from eighth and ninth respectively, handing Mostert an early weekend chance to eat into the Red Bull Ampol duo’s points deficits.
WATCH: SLIPPING AND SLIDING AT THE BEND
However, Mostert remained coy on the championship chatter, instead reiterating how perilous the race could prove to be at the tricky Tailem Bend venue.
“We’ve still got a job to do,” he said.
“It’s going to be a super hard race, it’s super easy to make mistakes out there.
“I think the guy that will win the race today, if it is a bit wet, will be the guy who makes the least amount of mistakes.”
The Repco Supercars Championship field will return for the 24-lap Race 9 at 4:35pm AEST. Check out the full weekend schedule here.
The OTR SuperSprint will be broadcast live on Foxtel and will be streamed on Kayo with highlights on 7 and 7 Plus.