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 Holden Red Bull Racing AU / Triple 8 Engineering 1:28.8137
2. Mark Winterbottom Ford Pepsi Max Crew / Ford Performance Racing + 0.1733
3. Shane van Gisbergen Holden VIP Petfoods / Tekno Autosports + 0.3329
4. Jonathon Webb Holden Darrell Lea Racing / Tekno Autosports + 0.8123
5. Jason Bright Holden Team BOC / Brad Jones Racing + 0.8324
6. Will Davison Ford Pepsi Max Crew / Ford Performance Racing + 0.8840
7. Fabian Coulthard Holden Lockwood Racing / Brad Jones Racing + 0.9846
8. Tony D’Alberto Holden Team HIFLEX / Tony D’Alberto Racing + 1.0648
9. David Reynolds Ford Bottle-O Racing / Ford Performance Racing + 1.5741
10. Craig Lowndes Holden Red Bull Racing AU / Triple 8 Engineering + 3.0073
Driver Entry / Team Q1 Result*
11. Scott McLaughlin Holden Fujitsu Racing / Garry Rogers Motorsport + 0.7318
12. Tim Slade AMG Heavy Haulage Racing / Erebus Motorsport + 0.8250
13. Nick Percat Holden Holden Racing Team / TWR + 0.8302
14. Alex Davison Ford Jeld-Wen Racing / Ford Performance Racing + 0.8551
15. David Wall Holden Wilson Security Racing / Brad Jones Racing + 0.8896
16. Rick Kelly Nissan Jack Daniel’s Racing / Nissan Motorsport + 0.9319
17. Todd Kelly Nissan Jack Daniel’s Racing / Nissan Motorsport + 0.9611
18. Chaz Mostert Ford Wilson Security Racing / Dick Johnson Racing + 0.9862
19. Scott Pye Holden EKOL Racing / Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport + 1.0187
20. James Moffat Nissan Norton 360 Racing / Nissan Motorsport + 1.0945
21. Alexandre Prémat Holden Fujitsu Racing / Garry Rogers Motorsport + 1.1177
22. Tim Blanchard Ford Wilson Security Racing / Dick Johnson Racing + 1.1622
23. Russell Ingall Holden SuperCheap Auto Racing / TWR + 1.1731
24. Michael Caruso Nissan Norton 360 Racing / Nissan Motorsport + 1.2031
25. Lee Holdsworth AMG IRWIN Racing / Erebus Motorsport + 1.4341
26. Dean Fiore Holden Dodo Insurance / Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport + 1.4414
27. Maro Engel AMG SP Tools Racing / Erebus Motorsport + 1.7673
DNQ. Garth Tander Holden Holden Racing Team / TWR no time

* Denotes gap to fastest provisional qualifying time of 1:27.3878 posted by Jamie Whincup.

Yassmin Abdel-Magied
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Richard Bailey

Founder & Chief Editor at MotorsportM8
Hasn't missed a Grand Prix since 1989. Has a soft spot for Minardi. Tattooed with 35+ Grand Prix circuits.