V8 Supercars championship leader Jame Whincup has bounced back from a troublesome race in the wet yesterday to claim pole position for the final race of the Norton 360 Challenge at Sandown Raceway.
It was his ninth pole position of the season, ensuring that the Team Vodafone driver won this year’s Armor All Pole Award for securing the most pole positions of any driver in the season.
The result certainly didn’t look likely if Whincup’s earlier runs were anything to go by; the Holden driver struggled to find grip and had a few off-track moments as he explored the limits of adhesion.
Lying eighth on the timesheets in the closing minutes of the twenty-minute qualifying session, Whincup rolled the dice one final time with a two-lap run. His first lap was enough to claim provisional pole, and his second lap saw him lower the benchmark by a further 0.03 seconds.
In the end, he finished 0.1 seconds faster than fellow front-row starter Mark Winterbottom (Ford Performance Racing).
But Whincup will be keeping a close eye on his mirrors at the start, with his main championship rival, team-mate Craig Lowndes, qualifying fourth-fastest, one spot behind provisional pole-sitter Lee Holdsworth (GRM Holden).
The top-six is completed by Shane van Gisbergen (Stone Brother Ford), Will Davison (FPR), Michael Caruso (GRM), Paul Dumbrell (Rod Nash Ford), Tim Slade (SBR) and James Moffat (Dick Johnson Ford).
With this qualifying session being held in dry weather, those who revelled in yesterday’s rain-hit conditions struggled in qualifying: the Holden Racing Team of Garth Tander and James Courtney line up 16th and 12th respectively, while Race 1 winner Rick Kelly lines up 15th.
This afternoon’s 65-lap race starts at 3:40pm local time.
V8 Supercars Norton 360 Sandown Challenge Qualifying Results (Race 2):
|Driver||Entry / Team||Result|
|1.||Jamie Whincup||Team Vodafone / Triple 8 Racing||1:09.6789|
|2.||Mark Winterbottom||Orrcon Steel / Ford Performance Racing||+ 0.0974|
|3.||Lee Holdsworth||Fujitsu Racing / Garry Rogers Motorsport||+ 0.1588|
|4.||Craig Lowndes||Team Vodafone / Triple 8 Racing||+ 0.2352|
|5.||Shane van Gisbergen||SP Tools / Stone Brothers Racing||+ 0.2811|
|6.||Will Davison||Trading Post / Ford Performance Racing||+ 0.2922|
|7.||Michael Caruso||Fujitsu Racing / Garry Rogers Motorsport||+ 0.3456|
|8.||Paul Dumbrell||The Bottle-O Racing Team / Rod Nash||+ 0.3527|
|9.||Tim Slade||Lucky 7 Racing / Stone Brothers Racing||+ 0.4331|
|10.||James Moffat||Jim Beam Racing / Dick Johnson Racing||+ 0.5411|
|11.||Karl Reindler||Fair Dinkum Sheds / Brad Jones Racing||+ 0.5688|
|12.||James Courtney||TOLL / Holden Racing Team||+ 0.5841|
|13.||Todd Kelly||Jack Daniel’s / Kelly Racing||+ 0.6034|
|14.||Russell Ingall||Supercheap Auto / Paul Morris Motorsport||+ 0.6318|
|15.||Rick Kelly||Jack Daniel’s / Kelly Racing||+ 0.6422|
|16.||Garth Tander||TOLL / Holden Racing Team||+ 0.6529|
|17.||David Reynolds||Stratco Racing / Kelly Racing||+ 0.6593|
|18.||Steven Johnson||Jim Beam Racing / Dick Johnson Racing||+ 0.6986|
|19.||Tony D’Alberto||Wilson Security / Tony D’Alberto Racing||+ 0.7027|
|20.||Alex Davison||Irwin / Stone Brothers Racing||+ 0.7037|
|21.||Jonathon Webb||Mother Energy Racing Team / Tekno||+ 0.7256|
|22.||Fabian Coulthard||Bundaberg Racing / Walkinshaw Racing||+ 0.7909|
|23.||Greg Murphy||Pepsi Max Crew / Kelly Racing||+ 0.8193|
|24.||Dean Fiore||Westrac Racing / Triple F Racing||+ 0.8920|
|25.||Andrew Jones||Team BOC / Brad Jones Racing||+ 0.9459|
|26.||Jason Bargwanna||Jana Living Racing / Brad Jones Racing||+ 1.1201|
|27.||Steve Owen||VIP Petfoods / Paul Morris Motorsport||+ 1.3357|
|28.||Warren Luff||Gulf Western Oil / Lucas Dumbrell||+ 1.3717|
[Image via Team Vodafone; Video via V8 Supercars Media]