Shane van Gisbergen has claimed his first pole position of the 2015 V8 Supercars Championship season after a dominant performance in qualifying for the opening race of the Castrol Gold Coast 600.
He and co-driver Jonathon Webb will start on the front row for Saturday afternoon’s 102-lap race on the Surfers Paradise street circuit ahead of fellow New Zealander Scott McLaughlin, who continued his strong qualifying form with the second-fastest time in the Top 10 Shootout.
Fourth-fastest in the preliminary qualifying session, McLaughlin moved to provision pole position on his one-lap effort, only to be beaten by a committed van Gisbergen by just over one-tenth of a second.
Championship leader Mark Winterbottom and co-driver Steve Owen will start from the second row of the grid, while Rick Kelly and David Russell ensured four different manufacturers locked out the first two rows of the grid in their Nissan Motorsport entry.
James Moffat gave further evidence of Nissan’s potentially unwise decision not to renew his contract by qualifying fifth-fastest, continuing the strong form he has shown all weekend.
Red Bull Racing’s two cars of Bathurst 1000 victor Craig Lowndes / Steven Richards and Jamie Whincup / Paul Dumbrell were sixth- and seventh-fastest in their Holden Commodores, with Whincup – who was just 0.01 seconds slower than van Gisbergen in the preliminary session – throwing away a better starting position with a heavy lock-up into the final corner on his flying lap.
Bathurst pole-winner David Reynolds was eighth-fastest in his Bottle-O Racing Ford ahead of Tim Slade (Walkinshaw Performance) and Garth Tander (Holden Racing Team).
The earlier provisional session saw some drama for defending champion Whincup, who clouted the kerbs and bent his steering on his first flying lap. Thanks to swift repairs by his mechanics, he was able to get back out on track and scramble into the Shootout.
Whincup’s teammate Craig Lowndes was another driver who could count himself lucky to have made the Shootout. He was just sixteenth-fastest after his first run before he speared down the Turn 11 escape road on his next hot lap. It took until his final flying lap before he was able to recover, bumping Nick Percat out of tenth place.
The recovering James Courtney showed he had lost little of his speed, qualifying a solid thirteenth-fastest in the second HRT Commodore. He is sandwiched by the Brad Jones Racing Holdens of Jason Bright and Fabian Coulthard.
Cameron Waters’ maiden run as a primary driver saw him qualify the Back To The Future liveried #6 Prodrive Racing Ford Falcon nineteenth-fastest.
|2015 V8 Supercars Castrol Gold Coast 600 – Race 26 Top-10 Qualifying Results|
|Pos||Driver / Co-Driver||Team / Entry||Time|
|1.||Shane van Gisbergen / Jonathon Webb||TEKNO Autosports||1:11.5442|
|2.||Scott McLaughlin / Alexandre Premat||Polestar GRM Volvo||+ 0.1412|
|3.||Mark Winterbottom / Steve Owen||Prodrive Racing Australia||+ 0.3194|
|4.||Rick Kelly / David Russell||Nissan Motorsport||+ 0.5347|
|5.||James Moffat / Taz Douglas||Nissan Motorsport||+ 0.6343|
|6.||Craig Lowndes / Steven Richards||Red Bull Racing / Triple 8||+ 0.7146|
|7.||Jamie Whincup / Paul Dumbrell||Red Bull Racing / Triple 8||+ 0.7682|
|8.||David Reynolds / Dean Canto||The Bottle-O Racing Team||+ 0.7744|
|9.||Tim Slade / Tony D’Alberto||Walkinshaw Performance||+ 0.8702|
|10.||Garth Tander / Warren Luff||Holden Racing Team||+ 1.0928|
|2015 V8 Supercars Castrol Gold Coast 600 – Preliminary Qualifying Results|
|Pos||Driver / Co-Driver||Team / Entry||Gap*|
|11.||Nick Percat / Oliver Gavin||Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport||+ 0.4293|
|12.||Jason Bright / Andrew Jones||Brad Jones Racing||+ 0.4339|
|13.||James Courtney / Jack Perkins||Holden Racing Team||+ 0.4771|
|14.||Fabian Coulthard / Luke Youlden||Brad Jones Racing||+ 0.5256|
|15.||Scott Pye / Marcos Ambrose||DJR Team Penske||+ 0.5682|
|16.||Will Davison / Alex Davison||Erebus Motorsport V8||+ 0.6862|
|17.||Lee Holdsworth / Sébastien Bourdais||Walkinshaw Performance||+ 0.7364|
|18.||David Wall / Chris Pither||Polestar GRM Volvo||+ 0.7476|
|19.||Cameron Waters / Russell Ingall||Prodrive Racing Australia||+ 0.7534|
|20.||Tim Blanchard / Karl Reindler||Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport||+ 0.8710|
|21.||Todd Kelly / Alex Buncombe||Nissan Motorsport||+ 0.8711|
|22.||Michael Caruso / Dean Fiore||Nissan Motorsport||+ 0.9704|
|23.||Dale Wood / Macauley Jones||Brad Jones Racing||+ 1.0451|
|24.||Andre Heimgartner / Ant Pedersen||Super Black Racing||+ 1.0696|
|25.||Ash Walsh / Jack Le Brocq||Erebus Motorsport V8||+ 1.2293|
* Denotes gap to fastest provisional qualifying time posted by Shane van Gisbergen (1:11.0913)
Image via V8 Supercars