Shell V-Power Racing again proved to be the class of the field in Race 6 qualifying at the WD-40 Phillip Island 500.
Scott McLaughlin scored his fourth straight ARMOR ALL Pole Award at the Victorian venue by resetting the qualifying record to 1:29.06s just prior to the chequered flag.
His earlier 1:29.33s effort would also have been good enough to beat team-mate Fabian Coulthard, who maintained second during the final run by improving to 1:29.34s.
“That was fun,” smiled McLaughlin, who has now equalled Jamie Whincup with six career poles at Phillip Island.
“I love this track and have a great car and a great team behind me.
“There’s no such thing as the perfect lap but that was close.”
Whincup was 0.34s adrift of pole in third ahead of Prodrive trio Mark Winterbottom, Cameron Waters and Chaz Mostert, making it five Fords in the top six.
Winterbottom repeated his Race 5 qualifying position despite Prodrive being among those to make changes to its set-up to try and avoid the tyre failures it sustained yesterday.
“The car was a big change from yesterday because we’re in survival mode effectively to make the tyres last,” he said.
“We’ve gone in with a bit of a different set-up. It’s still working reasonably well but a 1:29.0s is quick, so hats off to him (McLaughlin).
“That’s bloody fast. We’re trying to do the best we can but six tenths is a big margin. We need to keep tuning.”
Triple Eight duo Craig Lowndes and Shane van Gisbergen share the fourth row, with the Kiwi improving only marginally after being just 10th heading into the closing minutes.
“We had a pretty good qualifying car yesterday and we didn’t maximise it today,” he said.
“We changed back a little bit for the last run, but by our standards it’s not very good.
“Hopefully it pays back a bit in the race. We are a little bit more conservative than we would be, but we’ll see.
“The balance was really good it’s just the grip wasn’t there. It’s really frustrating when it’s like that because you do a good lap but then you see the timesheets.”
The Nissans of Michael Caruso and Rick Kelly completed the top 10, while Erebus’ David Reynolds was 11th.
Yesterday’s third place finsher Garth Tander could manage no better than 20th, with his Garry Rogers Motorsport team-mate further back in 23rd.
It was also a tough session for the Mobil 1 HSV Racing squad as James Courtney and Scott Pye ended up 13th and 18th respectively.