James Courtney will start the final race of the 2015 V8 Supercars Championship season at Sydney Olympic Park from pole position after narrowly beating Shane van Gisbergen to the fastest qualifying time in a closely-fought Top-10 Shootout.
After posting the sixth-fastest time in the earlier provisional qualifying session, Courtney was the fifth driver out on track for the one-lap dash for pole. The Holden Racing Team driver delivered a faultless lap time of 1:28.085 to comfortably beat provisional pole-sitter David Reynolds to claim top spot.
Subsequent runners Jamie Whincup, Rick Kelly, Mark Winterbottom, Scott McLaughlin all fell shy – McLaughlin glanced the wall on his flying lap – which left street circuit specialist van Gisbergen as the sole runner who could topple Courtney for pole.
It was a typically aggressive lap from the New Zealander, who hustled his TEKNO Autosports Holden around the circuit with first and second sector times that were narrowly quicker than what Courtney had managed. He was marginally slower in the final sector, resulting in him missing out on pole position by less than two-hundredths of a second.
Saturday’s double-race-winner Whincup finished the session third-fastest ahead of newly-crowned champion Winterbottom, while Kelly’s effort was good enough for an impressive fifth place on the grid.
Reynolds, McLaughlin, Tim Slade, Michael Caruso and David Wall completed the top ten, although Wall will be demoted two grid places for impeding Kelly during the earlier open qualifying session.
The 36th and final race of the 2015 V8 Supercars Championship season takes place over 74 laps and starts at 3:45pm local time (GMT +11).
|2015 V8 Supercars Coates Hire Sydney 500 – Race 36 Top-10 Qualifying Shootout|
|Pos||Driver||Team / Entry||Time|
|1.||James Courtney||Holden Racing Team||1:28.0854|
|2.||Shane van Gisbergen||TEKNO Autosports||+ 0.0187|
|3.||Jamie Whincup||Red Bull Racing / Triple 8||+ 0.1320|
|4.||Mark Winterbottom||Prodrive Racing Australia||+ 0.1618|
|5.||Rick Kelly||Nissan Motorsport||+ 0.2048|
|6.||David Reynolds||The Bottle-O Racing Team||+ 0.3661|
|7.||Scott McLaughlin||Polestar GRM Volvo||+ 0.4782|
|8.||Tim Slade||Walkinshaw Racing||+ 0.5852|
|9.||Michael Caruso||Nissan Motorsport||+ 0.9395|
|10.||David Wall||Polestar GRM Volvo||+ 1.450|
Image via Motorsport.com