James Courtney has won pole position in an incredibly tight Top 10 Shootout for Sunday’s 250-kilometre feature race of the V8 Supercars Championship’s season-opening Clipsal 500 at Adelaide. The fastest six cars in the one-lap qualifying dash were covered by less than one-tenth of a second.
With Courtney qualifying third-fastest in an earlier provisional session which saw series returnee Marcos Ambrose make the top-ten cut for the first time in his comeback, the HRT driver claimed provisional pole after knocking Saturday Race 2 winner Fabian Coulthard from top spot.
James Moffat was the penultimate man out after provisionally qualifying an impressive second-fastest in his Nissan. He clocked the fastest time up to the second sector, only to lose out in the final few corners and fall to fifth. Provisional pole man Shane van Gisbergen also fell just short and starts from sixth place, lapping just 0.096 seconds slower than Courtney.
Jamie Whincup and Scott McLaughlin ensured the would qualify in the top-four for all races this weekend and will share the second row of the grid. Seventh through to tenth on the grid were claimed by Garth Tander, Tim Slade, Marcos Ambrose (who hit the Turn 4 wall on his cool-down lap) and Jason Bright.
Hitting the wall aside, Ambrose’s qualifying performance was particularly impressive after a pair of 24th-fastest efforts for both Saturday races. The Tasmanian was one of a number of drivers to post his quickest time in the dying seconds of the opening session, in which van Gisbergen lowered the track lap record even further.
The two-part qualifying session saw a number of notable runners fail to make the cut. Both Prodrive Racing Fords of Mark Winterbottom (11th) and Chaz Mostert (17th) qualified outside the top-ten, while series veteran Craig Lowndes (14th) also missed out.
The 250-kilometre Race 3 of the V8 Supercars Championship will get underway at 15:25 local time.
2015 V8 Supercars Clipsal 500 Adelaide – Race 3 Qualifying:
|‘Top 10 Shootout’||Team / Entry||Result|
|1.||James Courtney||Holden Racing Team / Holden Commodore VF||1:20.540|
|2.||Fabian Coulthard||Brad Jones Racing / Holden Commodore VF||+ 0.044|
|3.||Jamie Whincup||Red Bull Racing / Holden Commodore VF||+ 0.063|
|4.||Scott McLaughlin||Wilson Security Racing Polestar GRM / Volvo S60||+ 0.068|
|5.||James Moffat||Nissan Motorsport / Nissan Altima L33||+ 0.071|
|6.||Shane van Gisbergen||Team TEKNO Darrell Lea / Holden Commodore VF||+ 0.096|
|7.||Garth Tander||Holden Racing Team / Holden Commodore VF||+ 0.481|
|8.||Tim Slade||Walkinshaw Racing / Holden Commodore VF||+ 0.610|
|9.||Marcos Ambrose||DJR Team Penske / Ford Falcon FG X||+ 0.628|
|10.||Jason Bright||Brad Jones Racing / Holden Commodore VF||+ 0.693|
|Preliminary Qualifying||Team / Entry||Result*|
|11.||Mark Winterbottom||Pepsi Max Crew Prodrive / Ford Falcon FG X||+ 0.336|
|12.||Rick Kelly||Nissan Motorsport / Nissan Altima L33||+ 0.346|
|13.||Lee Holdsworth||CS Racing / Holden Commodore VF||+ 0.440|
|14.||Craig Lowndes||Red Bull Racing / Holden Commodore VF||+ 0.467|
|15.||Michael Caruso||Nissan Motorsport / Nissan Altima L33||+ 0.524|
|16.||Dale Wood||Brad Jones Racing / Holden Commodore VF||+ 0.545|
|17.||Chaz Mostert||Pepsi Max Crew Prodrive / Ford Falcon FG X||+ 0.555|
|18.||Ashley Walsh||Erebus Motorsport V8 / Mercedes E63 AMG||+ 0.557|
|19.||Todd Kelly||Nissan Motorsport / Nissan Altima L33||+ 0.584|
|20.||David Reynolds||The Bottle-O Racing Team / Ford Falcon FG||+ 0.610|
|21.||David Wall||Wilson Security Racing Polestar GRM / Volvo S60||+ 0.642|
|22.||Nick Percat||Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport / Holden Commodore VF||+ 0.645|
|23.||Will Davison||Erebus Motorsport V8 / Mercedes E63 AMG||+ 0.776|
|24.||Andre Heimgartner||Super Black Racing / Ford Falcon FG||+ 0.893|
|25.||Tim Blanchard||Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport / Holden Commodore VF||+ 1.812|
* Denotes gap to fastest preliminary qualifying time of 1:02.008 by Shane van Gisbergen
Images via Christian Hartung and V8 Supercars Championship