TOWNSVILLE, Queensland, Australia — Report by Race Chaser Online Managing Editor Jacob Seelman — Wilson Security GRM photo —
The tides may be finally starting to turn on Volvo Polestar Racing driver Scott McLaughlin’s 2015 season.
McLaughlin, 22, was the seventh car out in the ARMOR ALL Top Ten Shootout for Race 17 of the V8 Supercars Championship, but his qualifying lap was enough to top all comers.
The No. 33 Volvo S60 posted a flying lap of 1:13.4117 around the Townsville Street Circuit and held off the Ford FG X Falcons of Chaz Mostert, David Reynolds and championship leader Mark Winterbottom to secure McLaughlin’s 11th career V8SC pole and his first of the year after a series-leading 10 pole awards in 2014.
“That’s awesome,” McLaughlin grinned following the conclusion of qualifying. “The GRM boys gave me an awesome race car — we had a good strategy for the Shootout and just went in and took a crack at it.”
“It’s a [huge relief to get the pole], not just for me but to all our fans and sponsors who have stuck by us. The team has stuck by me, fixed all my issues and things that I’ve been complaining about, and I’m just happy it’s finally starting to pay off and turn around.”
Mostert was the second-to-last car out to qualify after going second-quick in the opening round of qualifying, but ran wide off the track at turn six and gave up valuable tenths of a second — coming up 0.1620 of a second shy of McLaughlin’s fast lap at the checkered flag.
“Just made a bit of a mistake there at turn six, ran off,” Mostert admitted. “It probably cost us the pole, but I’m really happy with my team — they’re doing an awesome job for me — and we’ll see what we can do come race time.”
New Zealander Shane van Gisbergen was third-quick of the ten cars who advanced to the Shootout — putting up a lap of 1:13.7456 and sitting on the provisional pole until McLaughlin’s flying lap.
Prodrive Racing Australia stable-mates Reynolds (1:13.8378) and Winterbottom (1:13.8618) rounded out the fast five, with Winterbottom unable to back up his quick run from the first round of qualifying and falling off by nearly ___ tenths of a second. Winterbottom will be looking for a weekend sweep after winning the Saturday race for his fifth win of the season.
Fabian Coulthard, rookie sensation Andre Heimgartner, the Nissan of Todd Kelly, Lee Holdsworth and the Erebus Motorsport Mercedes-Benz of Will Davison made up the back half of the top ten starters after their respective runs.
The Top Ten Shootout was notable for the fact that none of the Red Bull Racing Holden Commodores or the Holden Racing Team Commodores advanced to the pole round. HRT’s Garth Tander will start 11th, with Jamie Whincup 13th for Red Bull. James Courtney (HRT) rolls from 16th and Craig Lowndes (Red Bull) qualified 23rd, his worst starting position of the season.
The 200 km finale for the Castrol EDGE Townsville 400 kicks off at 4:15 p.m. local time on Sunday.
RESULTS: V8 Supercars Championship; ARMOR ALL Top Ten Shootout; Castrol EDGE Townsville 400 — Race 17; Townsville Street Circuit; July 12, 2015
- Scott McLaughlin, 1:13.4117 (7th car out) 8th different pole winner of 2015
- Chaz Mostert, 1:13.5737 (9th car out, well off track at turn six)
- Shane van Gisbergen, 1:13.7456 (5th car out)
- David Reynolds, 1:13.8378 (8th car out, hit curb in five/six complex)
- Mark Winterbottom, 1:13.8618
- Fabian Coulthard, 1:13.8650
- Andre Heimgartner, 1:13.9588
- Todd Kelly, 1:14.0694
- Lee Holdsworth, 1:14.1168
- Will Davison, 1:14.4044