Team Vodafone’s Jamie Whincup has secured the 24th pole position of his V8 Supercars career after posting the fastest time in a damp Top-10 Shootout to determine the grid for today’s first race in the ITM400 at Hamilton.
Fifth-quickest in the open qualifying session, Whincup’s single flying lap of 1:34.5918 was enough to ensure that he is the event’s first repeat fastest qualifier, with all previous races here providing fans with a different pole-sitter.
Just over 0.1 seconds slower than Whincup was Steven Johnson, who took his DJR Ford around the Hamilton street circuit quickest of anyone in the first phase of qualifying to get through to the Shootout.
Conditions were treacherous for the entire 28-car field after heavy morning rain had soaked the circuit, and the short qualifying session called for patience and nerves of steel while waiting for the right moment to deliver a good lap time.
However, it was little surprise to see some big names languishing down the order after being caught out in the gripless conditions. Defending series champion James Courtney was one such victim, sliding his TOLL Holden into the wall and breaking steering – he will start from 22nd on the grid.
Courtney’s grid slot is likely to improve one slot, however, as Paul Dumbrell slapped the concrete at serious speed, causing significant damage to the right-front corner of his Ford that has threatened to eliminate him from being able to start today’s 59-lap race.
The red flags were brought out for both accidents at Turn 3, and once running resumed it was Johnson – piloting an older Falcon chassis after his was badly damaged during the Australian Grand Prix support races – who ended the session fastest, ahead of Rock Kelly, Shane van Gisbergen, Craig Lowndes, Jamie Whincup, David Reynolds, Greg Murphy, Tony D’Alberto, Dean Fiore and Garth Tander – all of whom moved through to the Shootout to determine pole position.
It was a good day for the Dick Johnson Racing outfit, with Johnson’s rookie team-mate James Moffatt qualifying a very impressive 12th-fastest.
The Top-10 Shootout saw the appearances for two of the grid’s three local drivers, with only Fabian Coulthard missing out on a berth to the final phase of qualifying.
At the end of this single-lap session, it was Whincup who emerged quickest, while Johnson finished just shy of the Vodafone driver’s faster time – it was still his best qualifying effort since he managed pole position at the same venue two years ago.
Row 2 will be shared by Rick Kelly, who starts alongside the fastest New Zealander in the field, Shane van Gisbergen, who enjoyed the support of the country’s Prime Minister, John Key, who paid a visit to his team garage.
The Kelly Racing-operated outfits also enjoyed a solid run, with Greg Murphy and David Reynolds (a personal best result) making it through to the shootout.
V8 Supercars ITM400 Hamilton Qualifying Results (Race 1):
|1.||Jamie Whincup||Team Vodafone||1:36:5077||1:34:5918|
|2.||Steven Johnson||Jim Beam Racing||1:35:8538||1:34:7234|
|3.||Rick Kelly||Jack Daniel’s Racing||1:35:9807||1:35:1252|
|4.||Shane van Gisbergen||SP Tool Racing FPR||1:36:0896||1:35:2582|
|5.||Craig Lowndes||Team Vodafone||1:36:3580||1:35:5132|
|6.||Garth Tander||TOLL Holden Racing Team||1:36:9763||1:35:8709|
|7.||David Reynolds||Stratco Racing||1:36:7770||1:36:6778|
|8.||Greg Murphy||Pepsi Max Crew||1:36:8028||1:38:3523|
|9.||Tony D’Alberto||Wilson Security Racing||1:36:8435||1:43:7645|
|10.||Dean Fiore||Triple F Racing||1:36:8624||time excl.|
|11.||Mark Winterbottom||Orrcon Steel FPR||1:37:0891|
|12.||James Moffatt||Jim Beam Racing||1:37:1194|
|13.||Will Davison||Trading Post FPR||1:37:2843|
|14.||Jonathon Webb||Mother Energy Racing Team||1:37:4044|
|15.||Fabian Coulthard||Bundaberg Racing||1:37:6021|
|16.||Russell Ingall||Supercheap Auto Racing||1:37:7559|
|17.||Warren Luff||Gulf Western Oil Racing||1:37:7904|
|18.||Paul Dumbrell||The Bottle-O Racing Team||1:37:8300|
|19.||Todd Kelly||Jack Daniel’s Racing||1:37:8479|
|20.||Jason Bright||Team BOC||1:38:1719|
|21.||Steve Owen||VIP Petfoods||1:38:2784|
|22.||James Courtney||TOLL Holden Racing Team||1:38:9804|
|23.||Karl Reindler||Fair Dinkum Sheds Racing||1:39:0865|
|24.||Michael Caruso||Fujitsu Racing GRM||1:39:3077|
|25.||Jason Bargwanna||Jana Living Racing||1:39:6767|
|26.||Tim Slade||Lucky 7 Racing||1:40:1066|
|27.||Lee Holdsworth||Fujitsu Racing GRM||1:40:2031|
|28.||Alex Davison||Irwin Racing||1:42:9963|
* Top-10 starting order determined via a separate top-ten single-lap qualifying session