The first stage of qualifying is complete and despite strong challenges from his competitors, Jamie Whincup recorded the fastest time in the 20-minute session at Sandown.
It was Kiwis Scott McLaughlin and Shane van Gisbergen who led early, but Whincup came charging late in the session.
Ultimately it was Holden Racing Team’s Garth Tander who laid down the biggest challenge – but Whincup went just 0.15sec better with his 1min08.573.
“I don’t know what’s going on outside all I know is I have to maximise and showcase how good the Red Bull car is,” Whincup said post session.
“It’s just one piece of the puzzle… I hope we can start the big one up the front there.”
That means his co-driver Paul Dumbrell will start from P1 in the upcoming co-drivers race, with Warren Luff alongside.
Tander made an error earlier in the session, running off and into the dirt. He admitted he was lucky to get the #2 Commodore out – and will give co-driver Luff a front row start.
“There you go Luffy, have the front row, she’s all yours!” Tander said.
“Car was really good, just made a mistake early in the session… We just need to get through these next 20 laps, hopefully keep the car up the front there somewhere.”
McLaughlin and his Volvo finished third, with Mark Winterbottom, James Courtney, Tim Slade, David Reynolds, Craig Lowndes and Todd Kelly completing the top 10.
Others to note include Will Davison 15, Chaz Mostert 16, and Fabian Coulthard 18.
Qualifying for the Wilson Security Sandown 500 is a long way from over, with two more races coming up to determine tomorrow’s grid for the 500 kilometre haul. The first qualifying race, open to co-drivers only, will kick off at 2.45pm.
Then, the main drivers will take back the wheel to secure their grid spot for tomorrow at 4.40pm.