Supercars Championship frontrunners Scott McLaughlin and Shane van Gisbergen will continue their epic battle for this year’s title by starting side-by-side on the front row of the grid in this afternoon’s opening race of the ITM Auckland SuperSprint.
With just 14 points separating the pair heading into today, kiwi fans were treated to a spectacular ARMOR ALL Qualifying session today that finished with just 0.1 of a second separating the New Zealand duo at the top of the timesheets.
Shell Ford driver McLaughlin clocked his time with 12 minutes remaining in the session and watched on intently from the team garage as the Red Bull Holden of van Gisbergen put everything on the line in the final lap of the session, only to fall just short of McLaughlin’s time.
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- Interview with ARMOR ALL Pole Position winner, Scott McLaughlin
It was McLaughlin’s 13th ARMOR ALL Pole Position of 2018 and the 46th of the 25-year old kiwis career.
2017 Bathurst winner David Reynolds will start from third this afternoon in his Erebus Penrite Commodore while Supercheap Auto Ford’s Chaz Mostert will start from fourth.
Seven-time Supercars Champion Jamie Whincup will start fifth ahead of the Brad Jones duo of Nick Percat and Tim Slade, Monster Energy Ford’s Cam Waters, Castrol Nissan’s Rick Kelly and rookie Anton de Pasquale who rounds out the top ten.
Kiwis Andre Heimgartner and Richie Stanaway will start 11th and 12th while Craig Lowndes will start his final weekend in Pukekohe from 18th. McLaughlin’s kiwi teammate Fabian Coulthard will start from 19th position.
There were a few close calls for drivers who have had to deal with light rain today. Nissan’s Simona de Silvestro slid off and into a tyre wall, triggering a red flag, while Percat crashed into the same tyre wall moments later.
In this morning’s third and final practice session of the event, Mostert was quickest ahead of Brad Jones Racing’s Holden driver Nick Percat. Nissan’s Michael Caruso was third and Preston Hire Commodore driver Lee Holdsworth was fourth.
FOLLOWING QUALIFYING RACE 28: ITM AUCKLAND SUPERSPRINT
| 1st – Scott McLaughlin
2nd – Shane van Gisbergen
3rd – David Reynolds
| 1st – Scott McLaughlin (3368 points)
2nd – Shane van Gisbergen (3354 points)
3rd – Jamie Whincup (2935 points)
ITM AUCKLAND SUPERSPRINT – SATURDAY RACE TIME (local time)
- 4:10pm – Race 28 – 200kms (70 laps)