Newcastle Supercars: McLaughlin snags pole for Race 25, Whincup fifth

Scott McLaughlin has thrown down the gauntlet ahead of the penultimate race of the 2017 Virgin Australia Supercars season.

Newcastle Supercars: McLaughlin snags pole for Race 25, Whincup fifth
Scott McLaughlin, Team Penske Ford
Scott McLaughlin, Team Penske Ford
Jamie Whincup, Triple Eight Race Engineering Holden
 Scott McLaughlin, Team Penske Ford, Jamie Whincup, Triple Eight Race Engineering Holden
Scott McLaughlin, Team Penske Ford
 Jamie Whincup, Triple Eight Race Engineering Holden

The 24-year-old took pole position in an incredibly tight qualifying session Saturday while title rival Jamie Whincup clocked in fifth.

Qualifying for Race 25 began with a big moment for Whincup, who locked up the rear brakes on the way down into Turn 1. He was far from the only driver to find the edge and cross over it during the 20-minute session. Mark Winterbottom, Fabian Coulthard, David Rynolds and even McLaughlin found themselves making missteps during qualifying.

After five minutes, it was Michael Caruso out front with a 1:09.9651, but he was later eclipsed by Shane van Gisbergen at a 1:09.9483.

In the pits, an incident nearly broke out as Reynolds backed out of his stall and into the path of Chaz Mostert. The latter was forced to get on the brakes hard to avoid a collision.

McLaughlin's qualifying session didn't go very smoothly either. While preparing to enter the hairpin, he was forced to the inside of the slower car of Tim Blanchard, thus causing him to miss the apex and run wide. Blanchard was then investigated for the impeding the DJR Team Penske driver's lap.

McLaughlin made another go at it with four minutes and 30 seconds to play, rocketing to the top of the board with a 1:09.9065. Whincup attempted to respond and although he got within a tenth of the pole time, his lap (1:09.9988) was only good enough for fourth.

He was then knocked down another position to the inside of Row 5 by Reynolds, who launched himself from eighth to the outside of the front row with a 1:09.9163.

Van Gisbergen and Caruso will instead share the second row on the grid. Rick Kelly will join Whincup on Row 3, completing the top six. Will Davison, Fabian Coulthard, James Courtney, and Mostert rounded out the top ten.

Cla#DriverCarTimekm/h
1 17 new_zealand Scott McLaughlin  Ford Falcon FG-X 1'09.9065 133.893
2 9 australia David Reynolds  Holden Commodore VF 1'09.9163 133.874
3 97 new_zealand Shane van Gisbergen  Holden Commodore VF 1'09.9483 133.813
4 23 australia Michael Caruso  Nissan Altima 1'09.9651 133.780
5 88 australia Jamie Whincup  Holden Commodore VF 1'09.9988 133.716
6 15 australia Rick Kelly  Nissan Altima 1'10.0306 133.655
7 19 australia Will Davison  Holden Commodore VF 1'10.0485 133.621
8 12 new_zealand Fabian Coulthard  Ford Falcon FG/X 1'10.0839 133.554
9 22 australia James Courtney  Holden Commodore VF 1'10.2208 133.293
10 55 australia Chaz Mostert  Ford Falcon FG-X 1'10.2222 133.291
11 5 australia Mark Winterbottom  Ford Falcon FG-X 1'10.2357 133.265
12 8 australia Nick Percat  Holden Commodore VF 1'10.2764 133.188
13 34 australia James Moffat  Holden Commodore VF 1'10.2778 133.185
14 7 australia Todd Kelly  Nissan Altima 1'10.2900 133.162
15 14 australia Tim Slade  Holden Commodore VF 1'10.3398 133.068
16 33 australia Garth Tander  Holden Commodore VF 1'10.3637 133.023
17 2 australia Scott Pye  Holden Commodore VF 1'10.4097 132.936
18 18 australia Lee Holdsworth  Holden Commodore VF 1'10.4300 132.897
19 6 australia Cameron Waters  Ford Falcon FG-X 1'10.4544 132.851
20 888 australia Craig Lowndes  Holden Commodore VF 1'10.5014 132.763
21 99 australia Dale Wood  Holden Commodore VF 1'10.5039 132.758
22 78 switzerland Simona de Silvestro  Nissan Altima 1'10.6040 132.570
23 3 australia Aaren Russell  Holden Commodore VF 1'10.9527 131.918
24 21 australia Tim Blanchard  Holden Commodore VF 1'11.0797 131.683
25 56 australia Jason Bright  Ford Falcon FG-X 1'11.1154 131.617
26 62 australia Taz Douglas  Holden Commodore VF 1'11.2466 131.374
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