Jamie Whincup on pole for opening Supercars outing
Seven-time Supercars champion Jamie Whincup has kicked off his 2020 Supercars season in the best possible form by taking pole for the opening race of the season.
A four-time event champion at the Adelaide 500, Whincup was able to post the fastest time of the top ten shootout aboard the #88 Triple Eight Holden Commodore to take the first pole award of the year and his first around the Adelaide Parklands Circuit in ten years..
The strong result comes off the back of Whincup and Triple Eight announcing yesterday that the Supercars championship’s most successful driver will stay at the team for one more year amid retirement speculation.
2020’s first top ten shootout kicked off with Erebus Motorsport star Anton de Pasquale heading out onto the city streets first for his lap after just squeezing through qualifying. The young gun set a 1:19.9582 for the remaining nine cars to chase, going quicker than his lap in the earlier qualifying session.
Jamie Whincup was next, the ten-time race winner around the Adelaide circuit looking to elevate himself after an average showing in the Triple Eight car earlier on. A strong middle sector put him to the top with a 1:19.4793, only a few hundredths of a second slower than the provisional pole time.
Former series champion Mark Winterbottom rolled out for his lap in the Team 18 Holden, keeping pace with Whincup in the first sector but losing time to his rival across the middle. A scrappy final sector left him slower than De Pasquale, over half a second slower than Whincup’s time.
After going quick in yesterday’s final practice session, Chaz Mostert wanted to put in a strong showing on debut for Walkinshaw Andretti United and started well by going quicker than Whincup in sector one. Staying within a tenth of Whincup through the lap, he ended up just behind the #88 car at the end of his lap.
Local star Nick Percat rolled out as the only South Australian in the shootout, taking the Brad Jones Racing #8 Commodore for a ride around Adelaide’s streets. He was unable to challenge those at the top of the order, going slower than Winterbottom over the tour of the parklands.
Will Davison took off as the first Tickford Racing prepared car in the shootout, strapping four fresh tyres on to the Ford Mustang for his lap. Going faster than anyone in the first sector, the margin was lost across the middle as he closed it out to just squeeze between Whincup and Mostert, losing out on pole by one hundredth of a second.
The second of Erebus’s entrants in the shootout, David Reynolds was lucky to continue with his lap after the Holden Commodore sent up smoke signals through the first sector. Pushing through the possible power steering issue, Reynolds missed out on pole by four-one thousandths of a second to get in front of Davison.
Reigning Adelaide 500 champion Scott McLaughlin was the next to go ahead of Whincup in the first sector, going committed early in the DJR Team Penske #17 car. Losing time through the middle of the lap, he couldn’t recover the time lost, dropping in between Mostert and De Pasquale.
Penultimate runner Cam Waters attacked the Senna Chicane to start his lap in the Tickford Racing #6 Ford Mustang, nearly ending up in the outside fence after a wild landing Sticking close to Whincup’s time early on, he completed his lap to slot in between Mostert and McLaughlin as the chequered flag dropped.
Provisional pole sitter and three-time event winner in Adelaide Shane van Gisbergen was the last to head out on track in the Triple Eight #97 car. A scrappy first sector put him slower than most of the pack, dropping more time until the second split and only just clawing some back at the end, winding up between Waters and McLaughlin.
With qualifying done and dusted, Whincup will line up on pole with Reynolds alongside him, Davison as the first Ford in third with Mostert, Waters, van Gisbergen, McLaughlin, De Pasquale, Winterbottom and Percat rounding out the top ten.
Race one for the 2020 Supercars season will get underway at 1620 local time, running for 78 laps around the Adelaide Parklands Circuit.