Newcastle Supercars: Van Gisbergen leads all-Red Bull front-row

Shane van Gisbergen will start the first leg of this weekend's Supercars title decider from pole position, while teammate Jamie Whincup kept Scott McLaughlin off the front row.

Newcastle Supercars: Van Gisbergen leads all-Red Bull front-row

Fabian Coulthard set the pace on the first runs, his 1m10.769s leaving him ahead of the two title contenders. There was almost nothing between the top three, however, with Shane van Gisbergen 0.001s off Coulthard despite a lock-up on his lap, and McLaughlin, who brushed the wall, just 0.002s further back.

The middle phase of the 20-minute session saw the contenders edge away from the field, McLaughlin taking over top spot with a 1m10.714s only to be immediately topped by van Gisbergen's 1m10.643s.

With neither of the contenders improving on their final run, that lap proved good enough to secure a crucial pole for van Gisbergen. McLaughlin, however, was trumped at the flag by Whincup, the Red Bull Holden driver one of the few to make a meaningful gain on the third run.

“There’s definitely a lot of pressure, but the car was awesome, the guys did a great job," said van Gisbergen.

“It’s step one, the race is where it counts. But it’s the perfect spot so I’m stoked.”

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McLaughlin added: “That was tough. I hit the wall a number of times just trying to get the most out of it.

“It was a lot harder to drive today than yesterday, I think we made some changes that weren’t right.

“Yesterday we’d hit [the inside kerb at Turn 1] and it’d be just like a little speed hump, but today it flies a little bit too long and I end up in the wall.

“After the last one I think I’d bent the car a little bit.

“But we’re there, we’re not far away, it just wasn’t quite enough for pole.”

Coulthard's early lap was good enough for fourth, while Lee Holdsworth was the surprise package of the session with the fifth quickest time.

Anton De Pasquale edged Erebus teammate David Reynolds in sixth and seventh, ahead of late improvers James Courtney and Craig Lowndes.

Nick Percat round out the Top 10, with Rick Kelly the best of the Nissan's in 11th.

There wasn't a single Tickford Ford near the pointy end of the field, Cam Waters the best of the Falcons way down in 16th.

Cla # Driver Car Time Gap
1 97 New Zealand Shane van Gisbergen Holden Commodore ZB 1'10.6430  
2 1 Australia Jamie Whincup Holden Commodore ZB 1'10.6597 0.0167
3 17 New Zealand Scott McLaughlin Ford Falcon FG X 1'10.7142 0.0712
4 12 New Zealand Fabian Coulthard Ford Falcon FG X 1'10.7693 0.1263
5 18 Australia Lee Holdsworth Holden Commodore ZB 1'10.7693 0.1263
6 99 Australia Anton De Pasquale Holden Commodore ZB 1'10.7912 0.1482
7 9 Australia David Reynolds Holden Commodore ZB 1'10.7951 0.1521
8 25 Australia James Courtney Holden Commodore ZB 1'10.8657 0.2227
9 888 Australia Craig Lowndes Holden Commodore ZB 1'10.9953 0.3523
10 8 Australia Nick Percat Holden Commodore ZB 1'11.0437 0.4007
11 15 Australia Rick Kelly Nissan Altima 1'11.0613 0.4183
12 2 Australia Scott Pye Holden Commodore ZB 1'11.0776 0.4346
13 21 Australia Tim Blanchard Holden Commodore ZB 1'11.0836 0.4406
14 14 Australia Tim Slade Holden Commodore ZB 1'11.1472 0.5042
15 19 Australia Jack Le Brocq Holden Commodore ZB 1'11.1898 0.5468
16 100 Australia Cameron Waters Ford Falcon FG X 1'11.2328 0.5898
17 55 Australia Chaz Mostert Ford Falcon FG X 1'11.2607 0.6177
18 35 Australia Todd Hazelwood Ford Falcon FG X 1'11.2628 0.6198
19 78 Switzerland Simona de Silvestro Nissan Altima 1'11.2810 0.6380
20 23 Australia Michael Caruso Nissan Altima 1'11.3061 0.6631
21 34 Australia James Golding Holden Commodore ZB 1'11.3536 0.7106
22 5 Australia Mark Winterbottom Ford Falcon FG X 1'11.3835 0.7405
23 33 Australia Garth Tander Holden Commodore ZB 1'11.3843 0.7413
24 230 Australia Will Davison Ford Falcon FG X 1'11.4685 0.8255
25 56 New Zealand Richie Stanaway Ford Falcon FG X 1'11.4809 0.8379
26 7 New Zealand Andre Heimgartner Nissan Altima 1'11.4826 0.8396
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