Alexander grabs Newcastle SuperUtes pole

  • ECB SuperUtes Series
  • |
  • 22/11/2019
  • By Joshua Makhoul

Tom Alexander will start Saturday's ECB SuperUtes Series opener in Newcastle from pole, having topped ARMOR ALL Qualifying on Friday.

The Ross Stone Racing driver put in a 1:28.5090s just after the halfway point of the 20-minute session in the Caltex-backed Isuzu D-MAX. 

That was good enough for top spot, leading defending champion Ryal Harris and Team Triton's Cameron Crick. 

Not only does it put the series leader in prime position for the opening race, it also gifts him five critical points - he now sits 65-points clear of second-placed Crick. 

A maximum of 175 points will be up for grabs across the final three races of the category’s second season. 

Alexander's qualifying effort was ultimately 0.3225 seconds ahead of Harris and 0.5142s clear of Crick. 

“I love this place and it’s been good to me the last couple of years," Alexander said.

"In the first two practice sessions, I was struggling through the first sector, but I nailed it in qualifying and I’m stoked to get five more points for the championship.

“Ryal won’t be easy to beat and I’m expecting Cameron to be aggressive, but it was important for us to qualify up the front and out of potential trouble.

“In practice, the tyres got quite hot but the conditions in qualifying were cooler, and it took a few laps to get the best out of the tyres.”

Earlier, Alexander topped the combined practice times, ahead of Harris and Ben Walsh in the Fat Freddy's Toyota Hilux. 

Harris was lucky to escape without serious damage in opening practice, after making contact with the wall on the exit of Turn 12, which broke a tie-rod on his Mazda BT-50. 

Elliot Barbour will start the opening race fourth in the factory-backed Mitsubishi Triton, ahead of Western Sydney Motorsport's Craig Woods. 

Walsh, who is chasing a maiden win in the series, will have to battle his way from sixth on the grid, finishing qualifying ahead of Ben Falk, who was in the wars late. 

Falk slid into and climbed the tyre barrier at Turn 9 with two-minutes of qualifying to go, which flipped the Tankworld Mazda onto its side. 

That brought out the red flags and the session did not resume, gifting Alexander the top spot with no one else able to have a go at his time. 

SuperUtes debutant and former V8 Utes driver Layton Barker ended his first day of SuperUtes eighth in qualifying. 

Ranger Racing's Christopher Formosa will start from ninth, ahead of WSM team boss Craig Thompson. 

The opening race of the final weekend will commence at 12:40pm on Saturday, followed by Races 2 and 3 on Sunday. 

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