Tim Slade has won pole position for the opening race of the Sydney Telstra 500

It’s been a long wait, but Tim Slade has finally broken through to claim his maiden V8 Supercars Championship pole position. The Stone Brothers Racing Ford driver made it through a rain-hit opening qualifying session to edge out Will Davison for top spot in the afternoon’s Top-10 pole shootout around the streets of Sydney Olympic Park.

With the opening qualifying session held at the unusually early time of 9:00am, the morning drizzle saw a host of more-fancied runners fail to make the qualifying cut for the afternoons all-important one-lap shootout for pole position.

Champion-elect Jamie Whincup could manage no better than 14th, while TeamVodafone team-mate Craig Lowndes was two spots further adrift.

It’s not all doom and gloom for Lowndes, as Mark Winterbottom – his main rival for second place in the championship – qualified a lowly 25th in his Ford Performance Racing entry.

Winterbottom’s team-mate Will Davison was fastest in the overall session, and it was a minor error on his flying lap that ensured Slade would claim his first pole position ahead of an unfamiliar top-ten that included the likes of Steven Johnson, Alexandre Premat, Michael Caruso, Russell Ingall, Tony D’Alberto.

The first of this weekend’s two 250-kilometre races get underway this afternoon and the conditions are expected to be vastly different from the morning’s drizzle. Weather forecasters are predicting heatwave conditions, which will make today’s 74-lap race an enormous test of endurance for the 28-car field.

2012 V8 Supercars Sydney Telstra 500 – Race 1 Qualifying:

Driver Entry / Team Top-10 Time
1. Tim Slade Ford Lucky 7 Racing / Stone Brothers Racing 1:29.5515
2. Will Davison Ford Trading Post / Ford Performance Racing + 0.0876
3. Steven Johnson Ford Jim Beam Racing / Dick Johnson Racing + 0.1164
4. Alexandre Prémat Holden Fujitsu Racing / Garry Rogers Motorsport + 0.4663
5. Michael Caruso Holden Fujitsu Racing / Garry Rogers Motorsport + 0.6038
6. Russell Ingall Holden Supercheap Auto / Walkinshaw Racing + 0.7177
7. Tony D’Alberto Ford HIFLEX Racing / Tony D’Alberto Racing + 0.7876
8. Shane van Gisbergen Ford SP Tools / Stone Brothers Racing + 0.9264
9. James Moffat Ford Team Norton / Dick Johnson Racing + 0.9870
10. Rick Kelly Holden Jack Daniel’s / Kelly Racing no time
  Driver Entry / Team Q1 Time
11. Jason Bright Holden Team BOC / Brad Jones Racing 1:30.9038
12. Fabian Coulthard Holden Lockwood Racing / Brad Jones Racing 1:30.9226
13. James Courtney Holden TOLL / Holden Racing Team 1:30.9300
14. Jamie Whincup Holden Team Vodafone / Triple 8 Racing 1:30.9770
15. Garth Tander Holden TOLL / Holden Racing Team 1:30.9820
16. Craig Lowndes Holden Team Vodafone / Triple 8 Racing 1:30.9989
17. Lee Holdsworth Ford Irwin Racing / Stone Brothers Racing 1:31.0444
18. David Reynolds Ford The Bottle-O Racing Team / Rod Nash 1:31.1944
19. Greg Murphy Holden Pepsi Max Crew / Kelly Racing 1:31.2196
20. Dean Fiore Ford Jim Beam Racing / Dick Johnson Racing 1:31.5836
21. Karl Reindler Holden Fair Dinkum Sheds / Kelly Racing 1:31.7399
22. Taz Douglas Holden Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport 1:31.7422
23. Steve Owen Ford VIP Petfoods / Dick Johnson Racing 1:31.7526
24. Jonathon Webb Holden Tekno Autosports 1:31.8283
25. Mark Winterbottom Ford Orrcon Steel / Ford Performance Racing 1:31.8486
26. Michael Patrizi Holden Tekno Autosports 1:32.6801
27. David Wall Holden Wilson Security / Brad Jones Racing 1:33.1485
28. Tim Blanchard Holden Jack Daniel’s / Kelly Racing 1:33.1699

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Richard Bailey

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