Championship contenders Jamie Whincup and Mark Winterbottom will share the front row for this evening’s penultimate race of the season at the Sydney 500.
The defending champion snatched pole position by less than two-tenths of a second in an incident-filled qualifying session today.
Winterbottom held provisional pole positions after his one-lap effort in the Top-10 Shootout, which proved the better of five other drivers before Whincup – fastest in Q1 – was the last man out on track to have a crack at the Ford driver’s lap-time.
The Red Bull Racing Australia did just enough, clocking a 1:28.8137 to beat ‘Frosty’ by 0.17 seconds to set up a thrilling prospect for the series’ first ever twilight race, which will be staged over 74 tense laps of the Sydney Olympic Park street circuit.
While Winterbottom will need to take a ‘win or bust’ approach heading into the race, Whincup’s front-row start gives him a much-needed advantage over his teammate and main championship rival, Craig Lowndes, whom he edges by 20 points.
Lowndes messed up his Shootout lap at Turn 9, losing the rear of his Holden Commodore and scraping the outside tyre wall – he finished slowest of the ten runners and shares the fifth row of the grid with David Reynolds.
The second row of the grid is made up of the two Tekno Autosport Holdens of Shane van Gisbergen and Jonathon Webb, who showed a remarkable turnaround in his recent form. Both, however, threw away their chance of a possible front-row berth by tagging the Turn 1 exit fence on their hot laps.
Jason Bright, Will Davison, Fabian Coulthard and Tony D’Alberto occupy the third and fourth rows of the grid.
The opening qualifying session was rather more chaotic, with the twenty-minute session red-flagged before its halfway point after Garth Tander crashed his HRT Commodore at Turn 1, badly damaging the front of his car when he hit the tyre wall.
Will Davison also caused front-end damage to his FPR Falcon, but he was at least able to take part in the Shootout.
Alexandre Premat was another driver to come to grief, mangling both front and rear of his GRM Holden after he was turned around by James Moffat exiting the final corner.
Tim Slade was the fastest of the non-Holden and Ford runners, posting the twelfth-fastest time in his last weekend for Erebus Motorsport. He lines up one spot ahead of HRT stand-in Nick Percat, who is substituting for the injured James Courtney this weekend.
The first 250-kilometre race of the weekend gets underway at 17:10 local time.
2013 V8 Supercars Sydney 500 – Race 1 Qualifying Results:
|Driver||Entry / Team||Top-10 Result|
|1.||Jamie Whincup||Red Bull Racing AU / Triple 8 Engineering||1:28.8137|
|2.||Mark Winterbottom||Pepsi Max Crew / Ford Performance Racing||+ 0.1733|
|3.||Shane van Gisbergen||VIP Petfoods / Tekno Autosports||+ 0.3329|
|4.||Jonathon Webb||Darrell Lea Racing / Tekno Autosports||+ 0.8123|
|5.||Jason Bright||Team BOC / Brad Jones Racing||+ 0.8324|
|6.||Will Davison||Pepsi Max Crew / Ford Performance Racing||+ 0.8840|
|7.||Fabian Coulthard||Lockwood Racing / Brad Jones Racing||+ 0.9846|
|8.||Tony D’Alberto||Team HIFLEX / Tony D’Alberto Racing||+ 1.0648|
|9.||David Reynolds||Bottle-O Racing / Ford Performance Racing||+ 1.5741|
|10.||Craig Lowndes||Red Bull Racing AU / Triple 8 Engineering||+ 3.0073|
|Driver||Entry / Team||Q1 Result*|
|11.||Scott McLaughlin||Fujitsu Racing / Garry Rogers Motorsport||+ 0.7318|
|12.||Tim Slade||Heavy Haulage Racing / Erebus Motorsport||+ 0.8250|
|13.||Nick Percat||Holden Racing Team / TWR||+ 0.8302|
|14.||Alex Davison||Jeld-Wen Racing / Ford Performance Racing||+ 0.8551|
|15.||David Wall||Wilson Security Racing / Brad Jones Racing||+ 0.8896|
|16.||Rick Kelly||Jack Daniel’s Racing / Nissan Motorsport||+ 0.9319|
|17.||Todd Kelly||Jack Daniel’s Racing / Nissan Motorsport||+ 0.9611|
|18.||Chaz Mostert||Wilson Security Racing / Dick Johnson Racing||+ 0.9862|
|19.||Scott Pye||EKOL Racing / Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport||+ 1.0187|
|20.||James Moffat||Norton 360 Racing / Nissan Motorsport||+ 1.0945|
|21.||Alexandre Prémat||Fujitsu Racing / Garry Rogers Motorsport||+ 1.1177|
|22.||Tim Blanchard||Wilson Security Racing / Dick Johnson Racing||+ 1.1622|
|23.||Russell Ingall||SuperCheap Auto Racing / TWR||+ 1.1731|
|24.||Michael Caruso||Norton 360 Racing / Nissan Motorsport||+ 1.2031|
|25.||Lee Holdsworth||IRWIN Racing / Erebus Motorsport||+ 1.4341|
|26.||Dean Fiore||Dodo Insurance / Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport||+ 1.4414|
|27.||Maro Engel||SP Tools Racing / Erebus Motorsport||+ 1.7673|
|DNQ.||Garth Tander||Holden Racing Team / TWR||no time|
* Denotes gap to fastest provisional qualifying time of 1:27.3878 posted by Jamie Whincup.
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