Jamie Whincup and Scott McLaughlin again set the stage for another electrifying day of racing with the two taking pole position in race 26 and 27 at Sydney Motorsport Park.
The Master and the apprentice were neck and neck on the time sheets for the first 10 minutes of the sprint session, and were relentlessly punishing their cars around the track. Craig Lowndes was again threatening, leading at various times through the session until James Courtney knocked the 888 driver off the perch with an impressive 1.31.07.
Being the first time the new generation cars have raced here, teams were modifying strategies to adapt to this unforgiving track. Once again it was Jamie Whincup and the Red Bull team who delivered, locking in the first position for race 26 and also breaking the legendary Peter Brocks record for pole position wins.
Coming in second for the race 26 start grid, Scott McLaughlin was out to prove something and in the last qualifying session for Saturday, he did just that.
It was again the five-time champion from Red Bull versus the up and coming superstar from Volvo Polestar. The two were again battling for the front row of race 27 and didn’t disappoint.
Lowndes was forced out of contention, returning to the pits early with “not much left”. Mark Winterbottom locked in a 1.31.30, keeping the top runners honest but it wasn’t long until McLaughlin was showing everybody how it was done, overtaking Winterbottom with a 1.30.3s lap time.
Overtaking Winterbottom and not to mention everybody else, McLaughlin took control and claimed Pole position for race 27 of the series, ahead of rival Whincup. With both races set to have McLaughlin and Whincup on the front row, we’ll be sure to see some stiff competition at the Sydney Motorsport Park 400 later today.
Images via Christian Hartung