Series leader Scott McLaughlin topped the timesheets in a mixed-weather qualifying session to secure pole position for co-driver Alexandre Prémat in this afternoon’s first 60 kilometre co- driver sprint race.
As qualifying for Race 28 of the Supercars Championship began, light rain started to to fall at the Sandown Raceway.
The entire field opted to run slicks despite the wet weather, however many drivers struggled to get temperature into their tyres.
The first part of qualifying saw the Red Bull ZB Holden Commodores of Jamie Whincup and Shane van Gisbergen set the early pace.
At the halfway mark of the 20-minute session the increasing rain meant the chances of beating Whincup’s benchmark time of 1:07:915 looked seemingly out of reach.
In typical Melbourne style, however the rain dissipated quickly allowing the track to dry out for the second half of qualifying.
Despite this, conditions remained tricky and the majority of drivers were unable to improve their lap times on a drying track. As the chequered flag fell McLaughlin, who had conducted a number of sighting laps to build temperature in his tyres, made a last-minute charge to beat Whincup’s time by 0.142 seconds with a 1:07:773 to claim pole position.
Andre Himgartner qualified a fine third-fastest in his Kelly Racing Nissan ahead of McLaughlin’s sole championship rival Shane van Gisbergen in the second Red Bull Holden.
In a strong session for the Kelly Racing squad, Garry Jacobson qualified a career-best fifth-fastest, with Anton de Pasquale (Erebus Motorsport Holden) in sixth. Chaz Mostert (Tickford Racing), David Reynolds (Erebus Motorsport), Will Davison (23Red Racing) and James Golding (Garry Rogers Motorsport) completed the top-ten qualifiers.
Image via DJR Team Penske
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