Scott McLaughlin on pole in Perth qualifying despite changes
Scott Mclaughlin smashed the Barbagallo track record on his way to his seventh pole position of the 2019 Supercars Championship season, in qualifying for Race 11 in Perth.
In an emphatic response from the Mustang team following parity changes between rounds, the New Zealander led a DJR Team Penske 1-2 in qualifying; Fabian Coulthard two-tenths behind McLaughlin in second.
In warm and sunny late afternoon conditions, McLaughlin progressed directly through to the second round of qualifying by virtue of setting the quickest time in practice two earlier in the day.
He then bested his own track-record by topping this session, only to go faster again on both of his single-lap runs in the final 10-minute dash that set the top-10 positions.
Jamie Whincup qualified third in an improved performance from the Triple Eight Race Engineering team while Chaz Mostert was fourth for Tickford Racing. Five Mustangs and five Commodores filled the top ten.
“It’ll be more satisfying when we get a 1-2 tonight,” McLaughlin said after securing his 53rd career pole.
“Fabs has been pushing me. We’re a proud team and we push each other hard. It was awesome.
“We saved a set of tyres (in practice) so I was like ‘I want to go faster’. We could have saved a set but you don’t know that – I could have been second or third. Fabs was going out and I was like ‘I want to have a crack as well’.
“It’s been a big couple of weeks working hard. To get a 52 there is something special.”
Whincup’s effort came despite missing the automatic pass to qualifying two, the Red Bull driver forced to use an extra set of tyres to work his way through each of the three rounds before banking his 53.12s lap late in the final session.
“The car is reasonable. Keep maying little errors and making it hard for ourselves but when we get It right we’re P3 – best of the rest,” Whincup said.
“Made a heap of changes trying to get the car back in the window from where it was in practice. I’m happy with that.”
Mostert and Tickford Racing teammate Cameron Waters were next, while Shane van Gisbergen elected to run just once in the final part of qualifying with his one lap good enough for sixth.
A big improvement from Brad Jones Racing saw Nick Percat seventh and Tim Slade ninth on the grid, split by David Reynolds in another Commodore. Will Davison completed the top-10.
After showing promising pace throughout practice, the Kelly Racing Nissan’s struggled with Andre Heimgartner best of the four-car squad in 13th.
Race 11 of the championship, currently headed by McLaughlin, commences at 6:45pm local time in Perth.
The 120-kilometre affair to be just the second Supercars race run under lights in the last 20 years and the first ever at the historic West Australian circuit.