Jamie Whincup led from start to finish in the final phase of qualifying at the Wilson Security Sandown 500, clinching ARMOR ALL Pole Position for he and Paul Dumbrell for tomorrow.
Whincup was on the pace from the word go, setting fastest laps – but he couldn’t quite shake Shane van Gisbergen, who held on to second for the 20 laps and pushed the Red Bull #1 right to the end.
“I really enjoyed that, that was awesome!” VIP Petfoods driver van Gisbergen said of the battle, despite finishing 1.51sec adrift of Whincup.
“We had a race similar in 2012, I was behind him the whole way and he fell off – I was hoping to do that same … we were flat the whole way and it was really cool. That was an awesome race.”
Teaming with Jonathon Webb, who improved five positions in the co-drivers qualifying race, van Gisbergen hopes small outfit TEKNO – which runs a Triple Eight built Commodore – can match the defending champs in the 500km enduro tomorrow.
“We’ve got a good spot tomorrow hopefully we can take it to them tomorrow,” he said.
Whincup also praised the contest, and is always one to give it a red hot go despite the possible ramifications to his Championship.
“It’s refreshing to have race without points you go out, go hard and rag it. Enjoyed it!”
However, he recognised it was a combined effort to get there, the Red Bull #1 on top over all three sessions today.
Mark Winterbottom came home third, the #5 Pepsi Max car on the second row, right behind its biggest Championship rival.
“Last few rounds have been tough, we don’t hide behind it,” Winterbottom said.
The car’s not there at the moment for the race pace but lucky I’ve got a good bloke beside me (in Steve Owen). Good day.”
Scott McLaughlin came home fourth, with Garth Tander, James Courtney, Craig Lowndes, David Reynolds, Tim Slade and Fabian Coulthard completing the top 10.
Drama struck on lap one for Russell Ingall, who spun off at turn one. A huge battle between Nick Percat, Jason Bright, Chaz Mostert and Scott Pye spiced off the closing laps further back through the field.
The V8 Supercars are on track for a 20-minute warm up beginning at 10.35am AEST, with the 500km race kicking off at 1.40pm.