Shane van Gisbergen has defied the threat of a legal injunction from his former employers by claiming pole position on his very first outing in Holden colours at the Clipsal 500 at Adelaide.
The Kiwi – who sensationally U-turned on his decision to retire from the sport at the end of last season – beat Mark Winterbottom to top spot in a closely-fought Top-10 Shootout this afternoon.
Winterbottom held provisional pole until van Gisbergen just pipped his time by a scant four-hundredths of a second, and when Craig Lowndes – the last driver to have a one-lap flier by dint of being the fastest driver in the first phase of qualifying – was unable to better his effort, pole position was van Gisbergen’s.
The result was an incredible fillip for van Gisbergen and his new employer, Tekno Autosports, with the result marking the team’s first pole position in its history. This is despite his former employer, Stone Brothers Racing (now Erebus Motorsport) threatening to launch legal proceedings over alleged breaches of the exit clauses of his contract, which forbade him from competing for any other team in 2013.
The second row of the grid will be occupied by Lowndes and Fabian Coulthard, with reigning series champion Jamie Whincup qualifying fifth-fastest, two sports behind his team-mate.
Proving that the Tekno team’s speed is no fluke, van Gisbergen’s team-mate Jonathon Webb was sixth-fastest, ahead of Will Davison in the second of the Ford Performance Racing entries.
Another team to enjoy a sensational qualifying result was the Garry Rogers Motorsport crew, which saw Alexandre Prémat and his rookie team-mate Scott McLaughlin both qualify in the top-ten. The pair sandwiches James Courtney on the starting grid, while Courtney’s team-mate and former Clipsal 500 winner Garth Tander had a poor qualifying session, mired in eighteenth place.
Debutant racer Scott Pye narrowly missed out on a top-ten berth with the eleventh-fastest time, marking a huge improvement in the Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport team’s previous results.
Also smiling were the Nissan Motorsport crew, who managed to get two of their four drivers – Michael Caruso and James Moffat – in the top half of the grid in the carmaker’s first appearance in the championship in over twenty years. The sister Nissans of brother pairing Rick and Todd Kelly also managed to qualify within one second of Lowndes’ provisional pole effort in Q1.
By contrast, Erebus Motorsport had a tougher time on AMG’s maiden appearance in the category. The best that the three-car team could manage was a twelfth-row lockout for Lee Holdsworth and Tim Slade, while the third car of debutant Maro Engel – the very car van Gisbergen would have been driving if he’d honoured his contract – qualified last after the German suffered a mechanical failure in qualifying.
The opening race of the season – over 78 laps and 250 kilometres – gets underway tomorrow afternoon.
2013 V8 Supercars Clipsal 500 – Race 1 Qualifying Results:
|Driver||Entry / Team||Top-10 Time|
|1.||Shane van Gisbergen||VIP Petfoods / Tekno Autosports||1:21.3595|
|2.||Mark Winterbottom||Pepsi Max Crew / Ford Performance Racing||+ 0.0480|
|3.||Craig Lowndes||Red Bull Racing AU / Triple 8 Engineering||+ 0.0858|
|4.||Fabian Coulthard||Lockwood Racing / Brad Jones Racing||+ 0.1257|
|5.||Jamie Whincup||Red Bull Racing AU / Triple 8 Engineering||+ 0.1663|
|6.||Jonathon Webb||Tekno Autosports||+ 0.2321|
|7.||Will Davison||Pepsi Max Crew / Ford Performance Racing||+ 0.2963|
|8.||Alexandre Prémat||Fujitsu Racing / Garry Rogers Motorsport||+ 0.4264|
|9.||James Courtney||Holden Racing Team / TWR||+ 0.8230|
|10.||Scott McLaughlin||Fujitsu Racing / Garry Rogers Motorsport||+ 0.8640|
|Driver||Entry / Team||Q1 Time*|
|11.||Scott Pye||EKOL Racing / Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport||+ 0.6353|
|12.||Russell Ingall||SuperCheap Auto Racing / TWR||+ 0.7433|
|13.||Michael Caruso||Norton 360 Racing / Nissan Motorsport||+ 0.7970|
|14.||James Moffat||Norton 360 Racing / Nissan Motorsport||+ 0.8172|
|15.||Dean Fiore||Dodo Insurance / Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport||+ 0.8199|
|16.||Alex Davison||Jeld-Wen Racing / Ford Performance Racing||+ 0.8662|
|17.||Todd Kelly||Jack Daniel’s Racing / Nissan Motorsport||+ 0.8746|
|18.||Garth Tander||Holden Racing Team / TWR||+ 0.9101|
|19.||Rick Kelly||Jack Daniel’s Racing / Nissan Motorsport||+ 0.9920|
|20.||Jason Bright||Team BOC / Brad Jones Racing||+ 1.0023|
|21.||David Reynolds||Bottle-O Racing / Ford Performance Racing||+ 1.0317|
|22.||Tony D’Alberto||Tony D’Alberto Racing||+ 1.0978|
|23.||Lee Holdsworth||IRWIN Racing / Erebus Motorsport||+ 1.2475|
|24.||Tim Slade||Heavy Haulage Racing / Erebus Motorsport||+ 1.3787|
|25.||Tim Blanchard||Wilson Security / Dick Johnson Racing||+ 1.4018|
|26.||David Wall||Wilson Security Racing / Brad Jones Racing||+ 1.4106|
|27.||Jonny Reid||ADVAM Racing / Dick Johnson Racing||+ 1.9989|
|28.||Maro Engel||SP Tools Racing / Erebus Motorsport||+ 2.3402|
* Time difference to fastest Q1 lap-time of 1:20.8731 posted by Craig Lowndes.