Jamie Whincup has bounced back from a horror weekend last time out at Townsville to claim pole position for Saturday’s 60/60 SuperSprint race at the Coates Hire Ipswich 360.
The Red Bull Racing Australia threw his Holden Commodore around the 3.12-kilometre Queensland Raceway circuit with a rapid 1:09.2730, narrowly edging out impressive rookie Scott McLaughlin for top spot by just three-hundredths of a second.
It marked back-to-back front row starts for the Fujitsu GRM driver, whose services have been retained on a multi-year deal as the team becomes Volvo’s factory effort in 2014 and beyond.
Such was the closeness of today’s qualifying session – with just eight-tenths of a second covering the entire 28-car field – that the smallest or errors in car set-up or out on the circuit could mean the difference between starting at the front or right at the back.
A case in point was with the Erebus Motorsport squad, which managed to get its three AMG Mercedes entries right up at the pointy end of the timesheets in the three preceding practice sessions for the first time this season. The cars were enjoying the benefit of new engine upgrades, but they weren’t able to replicate the same form in qualifying. Tim Slade proved the best with the ninth-fastest time, but teammates Lee Holdsworth and Maro Engel were mired in the bottom half of the field, albeit just a few tenths slower.
Up at the front, Fabian Coulthard made it a Holden trifecta in qualifying, with Mark Winterbottom finishing best of Ford’s thin field of runners in fourth. James Courtney and Craig Lowndes – a five-in-a-row winner here – will start from the third row, ahead of David Reynolds and Shane van Gisbergen.
Qualifying proved disappointing for several drivers. Townsville winner Garth Tander could count himself one of the losers in the twenty-minute session with just the nineteenth-fastest effort.
Another driver under a cloud is Scott Pye, whose seat at Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport is rumoured to be under serious threat after a series of poor performances following his stellar debut at the Clipsal 500. The teenager qualified on the back row of the grid to continue a nightmare run.
Today’s 60/60 SuperSprint – which takes place of two twenty-lap 60-kilometre race legs where the final race will pay championship points – gets underway at 3:30pm local time.
2013 V8 Supercars Coates Hire Ipswich 360 – Race 1 Qualifying Results:
|Driver||Entry / Team||T10 Result|
|1.||Jamie Whincup||Red Bull Racing AU / Triple 8 Engineering||1:09.2730|
|2.||Scott McLaughlin||Fujitsu Racing / Garry Rogers Motorsport||+ 0.0333|
|3.||Fabian Coulthard||Lockwood Racing / Brad Jones Racing||+ 0.0464|
|4.||Mark Winterbottom||Pepsi Max Crew / Ford Performance Racing||+ 0.0962|
|5.||James Courtney||Holden Racing Team / TWR||+ 0.1119|
|6.||Craig Lowndes||Red Bull Racing AU / Triple 8 Engineering||+ 0.1246|
|7.||David Reynolds||Bottle-O Racing / Ford Performance Racing||+ 0.1275|
|8.||Shane van Gisbergen||VIP Petfoods / Tekno Autosports||+ 0.1578|
|9.||Tim Slade||Heavy Haulage Racing / Erebus Motorsport||+ 0.1736|
|10.||Will Davison||Pepsi Max Crew / Ford Performance Racing||+ 0.1956|
|11.||Jason Bright||Team BOC / Brad Jones Racing||+ 0.1988|
|12.||Alex Davison||Jeld-Wen Racing / Ford Performance Racing||+ 0.2253|
|13.||Chaz Mostert||Wilson Security Racing / Dick Johnson Racing||+ 0.2582|
|14.||Todd Kelly||Jack Daniel’s Racing / Nissan Motorsport||+ 0.2819|
|15.||Alexandre Prémat||Fujitsu Racing / Garry Rogers Motorsport||+ 0.3003|
|16.||James Moffat||Norton 360 Racing / Nissan Motorsport||+ 0.3368|
|17.||Lee Holdsworth||IRWIN Racing / Erebus Motorsport||+ 0.3390|
|18.||Maro Engel||SP Tools Racing / Erebus Motorsport||+ 0.3908|
|19.||Garth Tander||Holden Racing Team / TWR||+ 0.4043|
|20.||Dean Fiore||Dodo Insurance / Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport||+ 0.4781|
|21.||David Wall||Wilson Security Racing / Brad Jones Racing||+ 0.4797|
|22.||Rick Kelly||Jack Daniel’s Racing / Nissan Motorsport||+ 0.5138|
|23.||Jonathon Webb||Darrell Lea Racing / Tekno Autosports||+ 0.5697|
|24.||Russell Ingall||SuperCheap Auto Racing / TWR||+ 0.5789|
|25.||Tim Blanchard||Wilson Security Racing / Dick Johnson Racing||+ 0.7665|
|26.||Tony D’Alberto||Team HIFLEX / Tony D’Alberto Racing||+ 0.7779|
|27.||Scott Pye||EKOL Racing / Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport||+ 0.8006|
|28.||Michael Caruso||Norton 360 Racing / Nissan Motorsport||+ 0.8086|