Sandown 500: Whincup takes provisional pole, title contenders struggle

Jamie Whincup handed co-driver Paul Dumbrell pole position for the opening qualifying race at Sandown, while title contenders Shane van Gisbergen and Scott McLaughlin struggled to trouble the front-runners.

Sandown 500: Whincup takes provisional pole, title contenders struggle

After this morning's damp practice session, it was back to full dry running – and even patches of sunshine – for the 20-minute hit-out to determine provisional pole.

Whincup spent most of the session on top, going quickest with a 1m08.142s inside the first five minutes before improving to a 1m08.115s with eight minutes to go.

That time would have been good enough for provisional pole, but Whincup still went out and improved on his final run, banking a 1m07.838s to stretch the advantage over the rest of the field.

That final run didn't just ensure co-driver Paul Dumbrell will start the first qualifying race from pole, but was marginally quicker than the benchmark time set by Dumbrell during practice yesterday.

“This is a massive deal. [Paul Dumbrell] had the Sandown Lap of the Gods yesterday and I ended up pipping him [today]," said Whincup.

“I would have been hearing about that for the next 25 years…. what a relief to get there!

“There’s still a little bit of that crack treatment stuff on the track from yesterday, but the car’s hooked up, it’s definitely better this year than what it was last year.

“But we’ve been in this position before, we’ve had a good car, and just made rookie errors. We’ve just got to keep the concentration.”

Chaz Mostert grabbed second thanks to an impressive two-lap final stint, the Tickford driver the lone Falcon in the Top 10 after leap-frogging James Courtney, David Reynolds, and Scott Pye, all three having failed to improve at the death.

“I felt pretty confident that the car felt pretty good across the three runs,” said Mostert.

“A bit of traffic on the second one and I didn’t get all my PBs together, but JW is seriously quick, he was quick in practice too.

“It’s just good to give it to [co-driver James Moffat] on the front-row and see what he can do.”

Andre Heimgartner was – somewhat surprisingly – the best of the Nissans in sixth, while other standout performances in the Top 10 included Anton De Pasquale in seventh and James Golding in ninth.

Those two rookies were split by Nick Percat, while Shane van Gisbergen gave co-driver Earl Bamber a bit of work to do by going just 10th fastest after complaining about a vibration in his Triple Eight Holden.

At least he fared better than fellow title contender Scott McLaughlin, who struggled to show any genuine front-running pace and left Alex Premat with 14th on the grid for the first qualifying race.

“That was average from my side, I need to work on that. We’ve got a bit of work to do,” he said.

“It definitely felt better then, so that’s a direction, but it’s very similar to Tailem, we just don’t have the outright speed at the moment.

“I need to give myself a bit of a kick up the backside and just get on with it.”

Cla # Driver Car Time Gap
1 1 Australia Jamie Whincup
Paul Dumbrell
Holden Commodore ZB 1'07.8389  
2 55 Australia Chaz Mostert
Australia James Moffat
Ford Falcon FG X 1'08.1206 0.2817
3 25 Australia James Courtney
Jack Perkins
Holden Commodore ZB 1'08.1223 0.2834
4 9 Australia David Reynolds
Australia Luke Youlden
Holden Commodore ZB 1'08.2097 0.3708
5 2 Australia Warren Luff
Australia Scott Pye
Holden Commodore ZB 1'08.3581 0.5192
6 7 New Zealand Andre Heimgartner
Australia Aaren Russell
Nissan Altima 1'08.3610 0.5221
7 99 Australia Will Brown
Anton de
Holden Commodore ZB 1'08.3668 0.5279
8 8 Australia Nick Percat
Australia Macauley Jones
Holden Commodore ZB 1'08.3996 0.5607
9 34 Australia James Golding
Richard Muscat
Holden Commodore ZB 1'08.3998 0.5609
10 97 New Zealand Earl Bamber
New Zealand Shane van Gisbergen
Holden Commodore ZB 1'08.4181 0.5792
11 6 Australia David Russell
Australia Cameron Waters
Ford Falcon FG X 1'08.4195 0.5806
12 12 Australia Tony D'Alberto
New Zealand Fabian Coulthard
Ford Falcon FG X 1'08.4516 0.6127
13 888 New Zealand Steven Richards
Australia Craig Lowndes
Holden Commodore ZB 1'08.4601 0.6212
14 17 France Alexandre Prémat
New Zealand Scott McLaughlin
Ford Falcon FG X 1'08.4731 0.6342
15 5 Australia Mark Winterbottom
Australia Dean Canto
Ford Falcon FG X 1'08.4802 0.6413
16 15 Australia Rick Kelly
Garry Jacobson
Nissan Altima 1'08.5392 0.7003
17 14 Australia Tim Slade
Australia Ash Walsh
Holden Commodore ZB 1'08.6103 0.7714
18 23 Australia Michael Caruso
Australia Dean Fiore
Nissan Altima 1'08.6421 0.8032
19 33 Australia Garth Tander
New Zealand Chris Pither
Holden Commodore ZB 1'08.6458 0.8069
20 230 Australia Alex Davison
Australia Will Davison
Ford Falcon FG X 1'08.6907 0.8518
21 18 Australia Lee Holdsworth
Australia Jason Bright
Holden Commodore ZB 1'08.7279 0.8890
22 19 Australia Jonathon Webb
Australia Jack Le Brocq
Holden Commodore ZB 1'08.7972 0.9583
23 21 Australia Dale Wood
Australia Tim Blanchard
Holden Commodore ZB 1'08.9461 1.1072
24 78 Switzerland Simona de Silvestro
Australia Alex Rullo
Nissan Altima 1'08.9754 1.1365
25 35 Australia Bryce Fullwood
Australia Todd Hazelwood
Ford Falcon FG X 1'09.0383 1.1994
26 56 New Zealand Richie Stanaway
Australia Steven Owen
Ford Falcon FG X 1'09.2527 1.4138
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