Rick Kelly has claimed pole position for the first of two races at the Norton 360 Challenge at Sandown Raceway, beating championship leader Jamie Whincup (Team Vodafone Holden) to top spot by two-tenths of a second in a rain-hit qualifying session.
Whincup’s main championship rival, team-mate Craig Lowndes, will line up from the back of the grid after a disastrous session.
The damp conditions created a gripless surface for the field’s 28 drivers, and even Kelly slid off the road on several occasions during the frantic twenty-minute session.
He and Whincup traded fastest times over the course of the session, before he went on to claim his second pole of the season.
While the pair shares the front row, the other big story was the calamitous session for Lowndes. Usually an ultra-dependable driver in qualifying, Lowndes has placed himself under enormous pressure to keep his title hopes alive, but he’ll have it all to do after qualifying on the back row of the grid.
Will Davison (Ford Performance Racing) and Shane van Gisbergen (Stone Brother Ford) will start on the second row, followed by Tim Slade (Stone Brothers) and David Reynolds (Kelly Racing Holden).
The top-ten is completed by Paul Dumbrell (Rod Nash Ford), James Courtney (Holden Racing Team), Steve Owen (Paul Morris Holden) and Garth Tander (Holden Racing Team).
Credit to Warren Luff (Lucas Dumbrell Holden), who starts a season’s best 11th-fastest after what has been a truly difficult season.
Today’s 39-lap race starts at 4:05pm local time.
V8 Supercars Norton 360 Sandown Challenge Qualifying Results (Race 1):
|Driver||Entry / Team||Result|
|1.||Rick Kelly||Jack Daniel’s / Kelly Racing||1:19.8997|
|2.||Jamie Whincup||Team Vodafone / Triple 8 Racing||+ 0.2052|
|3.||Will Davison||Trading Post / Ford Performance Racing||+ 0.6050|
|4.||Shane van Gisbergen||SP Tools / Stone Brothers Racing||+ 0.9221|
|5.||Tim Slade||Lucky 7 Racing / Stone Brothers Racing||+ 0.9374|
|6.||David Reynolds||Stratco Racing / Kelly Racing||+ 0.9712|
|7.||Paul Dumbrell||The Bottle-O Racing Team / Rod Nash||+ 0.9718|
|8.||James Courtney||TOLL / Holden Racing Team||+ 0.9828|
|9.||Steve Owen||VIP Petfoods / Paul Morris Motorsport||+ 1.1099|
|10.||Garth Tander||TOLL / Holden Racing Team||+ 1.1520|
|11.||Warren Luff||Gulf Western Oil / Lucas Dumbrell||+ 1.1548|
|12.||Lee Holdsworth||Fujitsu Racing / Garry Rogers Motorsport||+ 1.3071|
|13.||Russell Ingall||Supercheap Auto / Paul Morris Motorsport||+ 1.3394|
|14.||Todd Kelly||Jack Daniel’s / Kelly Racing||+ 1.3560|
|15.||Jonathon Webb||Mother Energy Racing Team / Tekno||+ 1.5322|
|16.||Greg Murphy||Pepsi Max Crew / Kelly Racing||+ 1.5622|
|17.||Mark Winterbottom||Orrcon Steel / Ford Performance Racing||+ 1.5700|
|18.||James Moffat||Jim Beam Racing / Dick Johnson Racing||+ 1.5770|
|19.||Fabian Coulthard||Bundaberg Racing / Walkinshaw Racing||+ 1.5842|
|20.||Steven Johnson||Jim Beam Racing / Dick Johnson Racing||+ 1.6112|
|21.||Dean Fiore||Westrac Racing / Triple F Racing||+ 1.8238|
|22.||Andrew Jones||Team BOC / Brad Jones Racing||+ 1.8455|
|23.||Michael Caruso||Fujitsu Racing / Garry Rogers Motorsport||+ 1.9675|
|24.||Tony D’Alberto||Wilson Security / Tony D’Alberto Racing||+ 2.2049|
|25.||Karl Reindler||Fair Dinkum Sheds / Brad Jones Racing||+ 2.3370|
|26.||Jason Bargwanna||Jana Living Racing / Brad Jones Racing||+ 2.4828|
|27.||Craig Lowndes||Team Vodafone / Triple 8 Racing||+ 2.4908|
|28.||Alex Davison||Irwin / Stone Brothers Racing||+ 3.3296|
[Image via Kelly Racing; Video via V8 Supercars Media]