Supercars Championship points leader Shane van Gisbergen will headline an all-Kiwi front row after narrowly edging out his compatriot Scott McLaughlin in qualifying for the opening leg of the Castrol Gold Coast 600 at Surfers Paradise.
The short lap time around the 2.984-kilometre street circuit gave the field up to three separate qualifying runs if they got their track position and timing still right, and van Gisbergen wasted no time by clocking a 1:10.79 effort on his first attempt.
McLaughlin edged out the Red Bull Racing Holden driver on his second run, lapping one-tenth of a second quicker in his Volvo S60, before van Gisbergen moved back to the top of the timesheets on his last run, pipping him by just three-hundredths of a second. Van Gisbergen’s hustle-style driving was in evidence, knocking his passenger-side door open as he shaved the walls.
Their respective teammates Jamie Whincup and James Moffat – the latter showing rare qualifying pace – repeated the Red Bull Racing / GRM Volvo line-up by locking out the second row of the grid, while former Gold Coast race-winner David Reynolds underlined his credentials at this venue by hauling his Erebus Motorsport Holden into fifth place.
Michael Caruso once again set the pace among the Nissan Motorsport runners and rounded out the third row of the grid, ahead of Lee Holdsworth, Bathurst 1000 winner Will Davison and the Fords of Mark Winterbottom and Chaz Mostert.
James Courtney qualified eleventh-fastest, opting for just two runs to give himself a free set of ‘green’ Dunlop tyres that could prove handy in the afternoon’s 102-lap race.
By running off-sequence, however, he had a fraught lap on his second run trying to avoid those who were on their out-laps for their third qualifying runs. Nissan’s Todd Kelly got in the way of the Holden Racing Team driver, instantly earning a two-place grid penalty that put the series veteran down in 23rd place.
Courtney’s teammate Garth Tander qualified midfield in 14th, two spots behind Craig Lowndes, who again had an underwhelming session in his Triple Eight Race Engineering Holden.
After showing impressive pace that ultimately went unrewarded a fortnight ago at Bathurst, the DJR Team Penske stable crashed back to earth with Scott Pye and Fabian Coulthard qualifying well down the order in 15th and 22nd respectively.
The opening 300-kilometre leg of the Gold Coast 600 starts at 13:55 local time (GMT +10).
|2016 Australian Supercars Castrol Gold Coast 600 – Race 22 Top-10 Qualifiers|
|Pos||Driver||Team / Entry||Time|
|1.||Shane van Gisbergen||Triple Eight Engineering||1:10.6544|
|2.||Scott McLaughlin||Polestar GRM Volvo||+ 0.0297|
|3.||Jamie Whincup||Triple Eight Engineering||+ 0.2279|
|4.||James Moffat||Polestar GRM Volvo||+ 0.2460|
|5.||David Reynolds||Erebus Motorsport||+ 0.3411|
|6.||Michael Caruso||Nissan Motorsport||+ 0.3612|
|7.||Lee Holdsworth||Charlie Schwerkolt Racing||+ 0.4077|
|8.||Will Davison||TEKNO Autosport||+ 0.4097|
|9.||Mark Winterbottom||Prodrive Racing Australia||+ 0.4224|
|10.||Chaz Mostert||Rod Nash Racing||+ 0.4610|
Image via Motorsport.com