Holden's Alexander takes SuperUtes pole

  • ECB SuperUtes Series
  • |
  • 24/11/2018
  • By Joshua Makhoul

Tom Alexander will start the opening race of the ECB SuperUtes Series finale in Newcastle from pole, having topped ARMOR ALL Qualifying on Saturday morning.

Holden's Alexander set an imposing flyer in the closing stages, with a 1:31.0269s ultimately 0.3991 seconds clear of Mitsubishi driver Aaren Russell.

The 20-minute session had a late flurry of laps, after Micheal Sieders found the tyres at the exit of Turn 1 and caused a red flag.

Running resumed with four minutes remaining, SP Tools Colorado driver Alexander taking the top spot and then improving on that time after the chequered flag came out.

"We tuned up the car overnight to dial out some of the high-speed oversteer we had in practice yesterday, and today it was on rails," Alexander said.

"I was fighting traffic after the red flag, but once I had clear track, I was able to punch out two really fast laps.

"It’s awesome to take my third pole of the season, and reward Ross [Stone] and the boys for their hard work."

Friday's practice pacesetter, Russell was Alexander's closest competitor, slotting into second with less than 30 seconds left on the clock.

Series leader Ryal Harris will start from third, having led for the bulk of the session, before he was pipped by Alexander and then Russell.

Harris will start Race 1 with a 27-point advantage over title rival Craig Woods, who qualified fifth.

Mazda driver Aaron Cameron splits them, while Woods was 1.3260s adrift of Alexander's quickest lap.

"We had a turbo hose come off early in the session, but fortunately the guys were able to fix and I did some laps after the red flag which put me up to sixth," Woods said.

"We changed the engine overnight after our overheating problems yesterday; to be honest, I’m surprised how comfortable I am in the car considering my lack of track time."

Sieders wound up sixth, despite clouting the wall at the halfway point, damage from the incident ending the factory-backed Mitsubishi's session.

"Through Turn 1, I caught the tyres and the conveyor belt just grabbed the car and pulled me into the fence," Sieders said.

"It’s damaged the whole front-right corner, the sway bar and power steering rack, but we’re working hard to fix it for Race 1."

SuperUtes debutant Justin Ruggier and Toyota driver Ben Walsh, who brushed the same tyre wall as Sieders hit, will occupy seventh and eighth respectively.

Behind that pair is another Hilux, driven by Matthew MacKelden and Christopher Formosa who was involved in an early incident with Charlotte Poynting.

Formosa spun on his own at Turn 8, and Poynting with nowhere to go collided with the Ford, front-end damage ending Poynting's session.

"We’re having some issues with brakes locking, which caused me to spin a couple of times," Formosa said.

"The first spin was right in front of Charlotte, which was unfortunate for her, and then I spun at Turn 11 on my own and fortunately kept it off the wall."

Richard Mork will start 11th, ahead of Steve Wilson and Poynting who retired from the session without a competitive time.

Race 1 commences at 1:15pm local time, followed by Races 2 and 3 on Sunday, as part of the Coates Hire Newcastle 500.

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