SURFERS PARADISE, Queensland, Australia — Triple Eight Race Engineering locked out the first three positions for Sunday’s race at the Gold Coast 600. The Red Bull Holden Racing Team Commodores of Shane Van Gisbergen and Jamie Whincup locked out the front row, while the TeamVortex Commodore of Craig Lowndes will start third.
“One-two-three, how awesome is that,” Van Gisbergen said. “We’re in a pretty lucky position to have such awesome cars this weekend. Thanks to the team, they’ve been working hard to turn our pace around.”
The big story was both Fabian Coulthard and Scott McLaughlin didn’t make it into the Top Ten Shootout. McLaughlin will start 13th while Coulthard will start 22nd in the race this afternoon.
We pitted on a lap where we were going to be up, which we shouldn’t have done,” Coulthard said. “We tried to give ourselves our best shot with another set thinking we could improve a fair bit more but it wasn’t to be. Scotty and I are both struggling. It’s been tough, but we’ll regroup and go again. It’s a long race this afternoon.”
Lee Holdsworth was first out in his Preston Hire Commodore. Holdsworth’s time was disallowed due to taking too much of the kerbing, leaving him 10th.
James Courtney was up next, and he did an aggressive lap, pushing hard. Courtney crossed the line with a 1:11.202, a good run considering he damaged his Mobil 1 HSV Racing Commodore in Saturday’s race.
Craig Lowndes went third, and despite damaging his left-hand mirror, the Caltex Triple Eight Commodore battled hard. Barely getting it stopped for the final corner, he set a time of 1:11.095 to grab provisional pole.
Michael Caruso went fourth, and locked up his Nissan going into the first chicane, then got a kerb strike at the second chicane, disallowing his lap.
Jamie Whincup rounded out the first five qualifiers in his Red Bull Holden. Whincup was behind Lowndes in the first sector, faster by 0.048 seconds in the second, then set a 1:10.904 to grab provisional pole from Lowndes.
Mark Winterbottom began the second half of the Top Ten Shootout. Frosty ripped the right-hand mirror off coming out of the second chicane, losing eight-tenths to Whincup by damaging his car, and could only provisionally manage a fourth-fastest time.
“I had a bit of an engine miss going into the chicane,” Winterbottom said. “I couldn’t pull sixth and that completely messed with my flow.”
Cameron Waters was next, and the Sandown winner attacked the circuit with a vengance, taking the first sector by 0.064, then slammed the rear on the exit of the second chicane, losing a tenth. He could only manage fourth provisionally for his efforts.
Chaz Mostert went eighth, and he drove a precise, clean lap to get a provisional fourth in the Supercheap Auto Falcon.
Bathurst winner David Reynolds was the penultimate runner, and having lost three-tenths in the first sector, he brought it back to 0.174 seconds down on Whincup. The Penrite Erebus Motorsport Commodore went a provisional fifth after locking up.
Van Gisbergen was the final runner in his Red Bull Holden, and looked good, going up a tenth through the first sector. He was consistent through the second sector, and pushed incredibly hard to grab pole.
1. Shane Van Gisbergen
2. Jamie Whincup
3. Craig Lowndes
4. James Courtney
5. Chaz Mostert
6. David Reynolds
7. Cameron Waters
8. Mark Winterbottom
9. Michael Caruso
10. Lee Holdsworth