Chaz Mostert’s evergreen qualifying run has continued, with the recently re-signed Prodrive Racing Australia driver claiming the team’s fifth pole position on the trot after dominating Saturday’s two qualifying sessions at Winton Raceway.
The 23-year-old once again showed the Ford Falcon FG X’s one-lap pace with a dominant display across both 10-minute sessions; underlining his pace were the performances of fellow stablemates Mark Winterbottom (4th and 2nd) and David Reynolds (3rd and 3rd) who ensured three of the outfits four cars will all but lock out the first two rows of the grid for Saturday’s two sprint races.
“It’s good to have your team mates up there too as the boys have put in such a lot of work over Christmas with the FG X. It’s starting to get some form,” Mostert said after qualifying.
The start of the first qualifying session was delayed by several minutes are circuit workers tried to mop up oil spilled in an earlier Touring Car Masters race.
Their attempts proved rather futile, with the hapless Scott McLaughlin catching the grime at Turn 3 and sliding into the sand trap to trigger a red flag. The New Zealander will start from the back of the grid for the opening race.
The delay meant that it was a flurry of on-track action in the dying two minutes of the session. The lead at the top of the timesheets changed no less than eight times in the final 90 seconds of play, with Mostert ultimately emerging on top with a 1:25.1215 lap time.
The Prodive squad looked to have landed a 1-2-3 until Michael Caruso slotted his strikingly liveried Nissan Altima into second-fastest with a last-gasp effort.
Caruso proved that his pace was no fluke at the team’s home race; the Kelly siblings Todd (5th) and Rick (7th) also qualified inside the top-ten in the team’s best showing of the season.
The frontrunning Holdens of Fabian Coulthard, Jamie Whincup, Shane van Gisbergen and Jason Bright completed the top ten, while the equally fancied Craig Lowndes could only manage fourteenth.
The factory Holden Racing Team stable fared worse, with James Courtney and Garth Tanbder languishing in 16th and 17th.
|2015 V8 Supercars NP300 Navara Winton SuperSprint – Race 10 Qualifying Top-10|
|Pos||Driver||Team / Entry||Time|
|1.||Chaz Mostert||Pepsi Max Crew||1:25.1215|
|2.||Michael Caruso||Nissan Motorsport||+ 0.1061|
|3.||David Reynolds||Bottle-O Racing Team||+ 0.1832|
|4.||Mark Winterbottom||Pepsi Max Crew||+ 0.2094|
|5.||Todd Kelly||Nissan Motorsport||+ 0.2202|
|6.||Fabian Coulthard||Freightliner Racing||+ 0.2543|
|7.||Rick Kelly||Nissan Motorsport||+ 0.2884|
|8.||Jamie Whincup||Red Bull Racing Australia||+ 0.3597|
|9.||Shane van Gisbergen||Team Darrell Lea STIX||+ 0.4087|
|10.||Jason Bright||Team BOC||+ 0.4345|
The second qualifying session was rather tamer, and this time Prodrive managed to claim a 1-2-3 with Mostert heading teammates Winterbottom and Reynolds.
Ricky Kelly cemented the Nissan Motorsport team as one to watch this weekend with the fourth-fastest time, while Perth winner Will Davison was fifth-quickest in his Erebus Mercedes.
Jamie Whincup was the fastest of the Holdens in sixth place, ahead of Shane van Gisbergen and Michael Caruso.
Scott McLaughlin recovered from his qualifying woes to claim ninth place in his GRM Volvo, ahead of Craig Lowndes in the second Red Bull Holden.
The factory HRTs’ poor qualifying showing continued with Tander leading the quartet of Walkinshaw Commodores in eleventh place.
Fabian Coulthard will start Race 11 well down the order after tangling with teammate Dale Wood, who tried to overtake the Kiwi at Turn 7.
|2015 V8 Supercars NP300 Navara Winton SuperSprint – Race 11 Qualifying Top-10|
|Pos||Driver||Team / Entry||Time|
|1.||Chaz Mostert||Pepsi Max Crew||1:24.0970|
|2.||Mark Winterbottom||Pepsi Max Crew||+ 0.1028|
|3.||David Reynolds||Bottle-O Racing Team||+ 0.1294|
|4.||Rick Kelly||Nissan Motorsport||+ 0.3446|
|5.||Will Davison||Erebus Motorsport V8||+ 0.3978|
|6.||Jamie Whincup||Red Bull Racing Australia||+ 0.4805|
|7.||Shane van Gisbergen||Team Darrell Lea STIX||+ 0.5583|
|8.||Michael Caruso||Nissan Motorsport||+ 0.5812|
|9.||Scott McLaughlin||Wilson Security Racing GRM||+ 0.5979|
|10.||Craig Lowndes||Red Bull Racing Australia||+ 0.6116|
The first of two 20-lap races will get underway at 14:20 local time (GMT + 8).
Image via V8 Supercars Championship