Reigning V8 Supercars champion Jamie Whincup has denied Nissan Motorsport a sensational front-row lockout in qualifying for Saturday’s SuperSprint race at Winton Raceway.
The Nissan Motorsport team had shown incredible frontrunning pace in the preceding practice sessions at its home test circuit, marking a tremendous turnaround in the team’s form when compared with the previous round at Queensland Raceway, where the Altimas had struggled to qualify off the back row of the grid.
Michael Caruso and James Moffat proved the quicker pair in the four-car stable, holding down a provisional front-row start until a late effort from Whincup proved enough to guarantee the reigning champion a record eleventh pole position of the season.
Caruso tried to wrestle pole position back from Whincup on his final flying lap, only to spin off at the penultimate corner in the final seconds of the twenty-minute qualifying session, triggering an early end to proceedings.
That red flag proved enough to ruin the final flying laps of several runners, leaving some of the more-fancied contenders – such as Garth Tander (16th) and Craig Lowndes (18th) – buried well down the field.
It marked the second stoppage of the session, with Tim Slade triggering the first red flag when he buried his Erebus AMG in the kitty litter, losing his promising lap times as a result of his error.
Caruso was rather more fortunate to keep his times, and will start from the front row, one spot ahead of Moffat, who shares the second row of the grid with Fabian Coulthard in the Brad Jones Racing Holden.
Mark Winterbottom was best of the Ford runners in fifth place, while Shane van Gisbergen, Jason Bright, James Courtney, Will Davison and David Reynolds completed the top-ten.
With the lap times again proving to be incredibly close over the course of the session – the fourteen-fastest runners were covered by just two-tenths of a second – Scott Pye showed a dramatic improvement from recent form, qualifying his Lucas Dumbrell Holden an impressive eleventh, while Tony D’Alberto was equally rapid in his single-entry Holden.
2013 V8 Supercars Winton 360 – Race 1 Qualifying Results:
|Driver||Entry / Team||Result|
|1.||Jamie Whincup||Red Bull Racing AU / Triple 8 Engineering||1:22.2129|
|2.||Michael Caruso||Norton 360 Racing / Nissan Motorsport||+ 0.0165|
|3.||James Moffat||Norton 360 Racing / Nissan Motorsport||+ 0.0444|
|4.||Fabian Coulthard||Lockwood Racing / Brad Jones Racing||+ 0.0813|
|5.||Mark Winterbottom||Pepsi Max Crew / Ford Performance Racing||+ 0.1157|
|6.||Shane van Gisbergen||VIP Petfoods / Tekno Autosports||+ 0.1453|
|7.||Jason Bright||Team BOC / Brad Jones Racing||+ 0.1464|
|8.||James Courtney||Holden Racing Team / TWR||+ 0.1483|
|9.||Will Davison||Pepsi Max Crew / Ford Performance Racing||+ 0.1491|
|10.||David Reynolds||Bottle-O Racing / Ford Performance Racing||+ 0.1612|
|11.||Scott Pye||EKOL Racing / Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport||+ 0.1620|
|12.||Tony D’Alberto||Team HIFLEX / Tony D’Alberto Racing||+ 0.1692|
|13.||Alex Davison||Jeld-Wen Racing / Ford Performance Racing||+ 0.1700|
|14.||Russell Ingall||SuperCheap Auto Racing / TWR||+ 0.1915|
|15.||Rick Kelly||Jack Daniel’s Racing / Nissan Motorsport||+ 0.3039|
|16.||Garth Tander||Holden Racing Team / TWR||+ 0.3704|
|17.||Todd Kelly||Jack Daniel’s Racing / Nissan Motorsport||+ 0.3836|
|18.||Craig Lowndes||Red Bull Racing AU / Triple 8 Engineering||+ 0.3936|
|19.||Chaz Mostert||Wilson Security Racing / Dick Johnson Racing||+ 0.4129|
|20.||Tim Blanchard||Wilson Security Racing / Dick Johnson Racing||+ 0.4332|
|21.||Alexandre Prémat||Fujitsu Racing / Garry Rogers Motorsport||+ 0.4966|
|22.||Jonathon Webb||Darrell Lea Racing / Tekno Autosports||+ 0.5107|
|23.||Scott McLaughlin||Fujitsu Racing / Garry Rogers Motorsport||+ 0.5144|
|24.||Maro Engel||SP Tools Racing / Erebus Motorsport||+ 0.6443|
|25.||Lee Holdsworth||IRWIN Racing / Erebus Motorsport||+ 0.7472|
|26.||Dean Fiore||Dodo Insurance / Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport||+ 0.7661|
|27.||David Wall||Wilson Security Racing / Brad Jones Racing||+ 0.8215|
|28.||Tim Slade||Heavy Haulage Racing / Erebus Motorsport||Disallowed|