Whincup claims provisional pole for Bathurst 1000, McLaughlin P3
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Jamie Whincup has scored provisional pole for the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000, ahead of tomorrow's top-10 shootout. He leads defending winner David Reynolds, and leading Kiwis Scott McLaughlin and Shane van Gisbergen.
James Courtney, Craig Lowndes, Cameron Waters, Nick Percat, Anton de Pasquale, and Garth Tander fill the remainder of the shootout top-10 positions. Full results below.
The session was prefaced by more wet practice running, during which Red Bull Racing Australia and Shell V-Power Racing elected to hold the bulk of their fire.
There were fears that rain could once again hit the track for the 40-minute qualifying session, and that those teams who hadn't taken advantage of the wet practice conditions might be behind the eight ball. But, things were dry (though cold) when qualifying began.
The first representative time was set by Reynolds, in the form of a 2:05.9919. It triggered a bunch of other 'fives', with McLaughlin the quickest of them (a 2:05.3913).
McLaughlin shaved a few tenths off his time to move further forward, and continued to hold first at the 30-minute mark (Courtney, Jamie Whincup, Fabian Coulthard, and Rick Kelly in tow).
Reynolds looked on to knock McLaughlin's time off at the 25-minute mark, but locked a brake at the final corner and went off. About a minute later, Courtney took first from McLaughlin with a 2:05.1032. That was then eclipsed by the first 'four' of the weekend; a 2:04.576 from Whincup.
With 20 minutes left, Whincup led Courtney, van Gisbergen, McLaughlin, Chaz Mostert, Lowndes, de Pasquale, Waters, James Golding, and Tander in 10th.
Though just a few minutes later Reynolds was once again in the fray, just 0.004 away from first. But the order was changing all the time, and Courtney rebounded again just prior to the 10-minute mark with a 2:04.4759.
With 10 minutes to go, Whincup stole the lead on a 2:04.3021. Courtney, McLaughlin, Reynolds, and van Gisbergen were the top five. It looked like Waters was set to join them, only for a red flag to be called in the final seconds for the stopped car of Jack Lebrocq at turn one.
It left everyone with about five minutes of competitive running to go, or more specifically two or three bites at producing a good final lap. As Courtney warred with Whincup for first, the other point of focus was on the base of the top 10.
Mostert, Waters, and Golding held eighth, ninth, and 10th in those dying moments, with the likes of Rick Kelly and Craig Lowndes hoping to push them out.
With less than two minutes to go, it was Lowndes that bumped them first by moving up to a safe fourth. Waters then solidified his spot with an improvement to fifth, while Percat also jumped into the top six before van Gisbergen moved to fourth.
But in the last moments the battle for first was the focus, and in quick succession McLaughlin passed Whincup, then Whincup passed McLaughlin, then Reynolds snuck between the pair of them.
Whincup's time, a 2:04.1093, defied the lack of track miles on track, and was a tenth and a half quicker than second place.
Among those to miss out was Mostert in 11th, and the remaining three Kiwi lead drivers Heimgartner (13th), Coulthard (15th), and Richie Stanaway (P17).
1. Jamie Whincup 2:04.1093
2. David Reynolds +0.1555
3. Scott McLaughlin +0.1769
4. Shane Van Gisbergen +0.2725
5. James Courtney +0.3666
6. Craig Lowndes +0.4609
7. Cameron Waters +0.4701
8. Nick Percat +0.5288
9. Anton de Pasquale +0.5849
10. Garth Tander +0.7474
11. Chaz Mostert +0.8040
12. James Golding +0.8627
13. Andre Heimgartner +0.9265
14. Rick Kelly +0.9552
15. Fabian Coulthard +1.0696
16. Michael Caruso +1.2102
17. Richie Stanaway +1.3514
18. Scott Pye +1.3562
19. Mark Winterbottom +1.4013
20. Tim Slade +1.4563
21. Lee Holdsworth +1.5982
22. Tim Blanchard +1.7340
23. Todd Hazelwood +1.9283
24. Will Davison +1.9336
25. Jack Le Brocq +2.0232
26. Simona De Silvestro +2.3281