Mark Winterbottom has fired back at his Triple Eight foes in the ARMOR ALL Top 10 Shootout, taking pole position for this afternoon’s 200km race in Townsville.
The Bottle-O racer improved from position three to one with his 1min12.4077 lap, with Team Vortex’s Craig Lowndes to start alongside on the front row, his lap 0.1sec behind.
Times were quicker than in the earlier qualifying session, the track gripping up for the drivers.
“The engineering crew, in the two hour block (since qualifying) worked hard,” Winterbottom said.
“It’s the guys that turn the car around, so I’m really proud and … it was really nice to drive. Bring it!”
Winterbottom won back-to-back races at the circuit last year and finished third yesterday behind Jamie Whincup and Shane van Gisbergen.
The two Red Bulls start on the second row, with van Gisbergen dropping from first to fourth after the single lap dash.
“I’m still not happy, but that’s ok – the car’s quick, hopefully we have better tyre life than yesterday and we can fight it out,” he said.
“It’s better, but it’s hard to drive and quite different to yesterday so I keep making mistakes.”
David Reynolds was the other big improver, jumping from eighth to fifth with an impressive early lap that had the Erebus team on the edges of their seats after saving some green tyres.
Scott McLaughlin starts alongside, with Chaz Mostert, Will Davison, Scott Pye and Garth Tander completing the 10. Tander and McLaughlin reportedly ran used tyres in the session, electing to save green sets for the race.
The 200km race kicks off at 4.10pm local time.