Ryan Wood beats Zak Best, Zach Bates in ARMOR ALL Qualifying
Wood clinches ARMOR ALL Pole Champion Award with Adelaide pole
Session declared after Callum Walker and Nash Morris collide
Ryan Wood has defeated Zak Best and Zach Bates in a thrilling final ARMOR ALL Qualifying session of the Dunlop Series season in Adelaide.
Wood, who claimed pole for Saturday’s race earlier on Friday morning, pipped Super2 points leader Best by 0.0289s, with Bates a further 0.0701s behind.
All told, the final Dunlop Series qualifying session of the season saw a top three covered by just 0.0990s, with Kai Allen fourth.
Super2 and Super3 drivers shared the track for 20 minutes of qualifying, but the session was out short after a spin for Callum Walker led to a crash for Nash Morris.
Walker, who was 22nd on the time sheets, spun at Turn 7 and was collected by an unsighted Morris, who came to rest along the Turn 7 exit wall.
The session was suspended and ultimately declared, sealing Wood his fourth pole of the season — a result that also netted the Walkinshaw Andretti United driver the 2023 Dunlop Series ARMOR ALL Pole Champion Award.
With Best third and second in both qualifying sessions, the Anderson Motorsport driver is in the box seat to take out the 2023 Super2 title.
Allen will start sixth and fourth in the two races, and heads into Saturday 30 points behind Best, who has led the points since Newcastle in March.
Wood, Best, Bates, Allen, Cameron Crick and Jay Hanson were all underneath Declan Fraser’s Dunlop Series lap record, a 1:19.6381s.
Aaron Love qualified seventh ahead of Aaron Seton and Cooper Murray, who loomed to jump to the top only to lock up at Turn 9 and throw a strong lap time away.
Super3 points leader Jobe Stewart made it two from two on Friday, with the Image Racing driver 15th overall. Stewart beat Tickford Racing rookie Rylan Gray to Super3 pole honours, with Cameron McLeod third in class.
Gray's Tickford stablemate Brad Vaughan didn't take part, with the reigning Super3 champion ruled out for the remainder of the weekend following his crash on Friday morning.
Best opened proceedings with a 1:20.5477s, and improved to a 1:19.8853s and 1:19.7882s. Wood was always there, first with a 1:20.1932s and a 1:19.9183s.
Best and Wood were split by just 0.0664s ahead of the final runs, before Bates went to the top with a 1:19.7301s. Allen burst out of the blocks with a 1:19.6554s, before Wood clocked a 1:19.4350s.
Bates went quicker again with a 1:19.3790s, with Best retaking top spot with a 1:19.3089s. Just before Walker and Morris collided, Wood clocked a 1:19.2800s, which was ultimately enough for a fourth pole and with it, $2500 in prize money.
The first Dunlop Series race of the weekend will commence at 1:25pm local time/1:55pm AEDT on Saturday. The 2023 season will conclude on Sunday with Race 2 at 1:20pm local time/1:50pm AEDT.