Whincup sets best time as Lowndes struggles
MOTORSPORT: He might have been a little disappointed with his time but Jamie Whincup said he was delighted to be on provisional pole for Sunday's Bathurst 1000.
Whincup set a best time of 2min 05.0481sec in the Red Bull Holden Commodore VF, just 0.1031sec ahead of Scott McLaughlin's Volvo S60, and was in good spirits after qualifying.
"Great fun, really good fun,” Whincup said. "A new tyre on a good car around this place lets you know you're alive.
"I thought we'd go quicker than that ... the number doesn't mean anything, it's the position. Very happy to be provisional pole, we just have to do it in the shootout.
"The car's very good, absolutely no complaints about car speed.”
Tim Slade was third fastest in his Holden, while Chaz Mostert, returning to the track for the first time since last year's crash that left him with a broken leg, set the fourth-fastest time in his Ford Falcon FG X.
Fabian Coulthard was fifth fastest, with championship leader Shane van Gisbergen in sixth.
Defending champion Mark Winterbottom, Scott Pye, Garth Tander and Michael Caruso also qualified for tomorrow's top-10 shootout.
Last year's winner Craig Lowndes posted his worst Bathurst 1000 qualifying, finishing in 21st position.
"I probably didn't do a clean job, the car wasn't perfect either. Between all of us we didn't get the best out of it,” Lowndes said.
"I smacked the wall on that last run ... it's just unfortunate, but that's motor racing.
"We've still got 161 laps on Sunday.”
The Harvey Norman Supergirls will start second last on the grid after Simon de Silvestro triggered a red flag by running off and getting bogged in a sand trap.