V8 Supercars Championship leader Mark Winterbottom has ended a 25-race pole position drought by going fastest in qualifying for Sunday’s 200-kilometre Feature Race at the WD-40 Phillip Island SuperSprint.

The Prodrive Racing driver was comfortably quickest in the 20-minute session, finishing two-tenths of a second faster than his main championship rival, Red Bull Racing’s Craig Lowndes. The pair will share the front row of the grid for the 45-lap race, setting up another tantalising chapter in their title fight.

Lowndes’ teammate and Saturday’s second Sprint Race winner Jamie Whincup led the timesheets for much of the session, only to be eclipsed by Lowndes with just under a minute to go.

Winterbottom would go one better, clocking a 1:30.676 to snatch top spot. Lowndes couldn’t improve on his earlier time and had to settle for second, and while Whincup went quicker on his final tour, it wouldn’t be enough to get him beyond the second row of the grid.

Scott McLaughlin fired in two quick laps on his final run to grab fourth place in his Polestar Racing GRM Volvo, ahead of the DJR Team Penske Ford of Scott Pye.

The Nissans of Michael Causo and Rick Kelly were sixth and seventh respectively ahead of David Reynolds, Shane van Gisbergen and Todd Kelly.

Ahead of his switch to the Nissan stable next year, Dale Wood put in one of his most competitive qualifying performances of the season to claim twelfth on the grid – the result was all the more impressive given his Brad Jones Racing mechanics had performed a rapid engine change in the lead-up to the session.

Race 33, held over 45 laps, will start at 2:10pm local time (GMT +11).

2015 V8 Supercars WD-40 Phillip Island SuperSprint – Race 33 Qualifying Top-10
Pos Driver Team / Entry Time
1. Mark Winterbottom Prodrive Racing Australia 1:30.6764
2. Craig Lowndes Red Bull Racing / Triple 8 + 0.2093
3. Jamie Whincup Red Bull Racing / Triple 8 + 0.3328
4. Scott McLaughlin Polestar GRM Volvo + 0.4148
5. Scott Pye DJR Team Penske + 0.5775
6. Michael Caruso Nissan Motorsport + 0.5826
7. Rick Kelly Nissan Motorsport + 0.6346
8. David Reynolds The Bottle-O Racing Team + 0.6429
9. Shane van Gisbergen TEKNO Autosports + 0.6840
10. Todd Kelly Nissan Motorsport + 0.7598

Image via Motorsport.com

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Geoff Burke

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