PHILLIP ISLAND, Victoria, Australia — Report by Race Chaser Online Managing Editor Jacob Seelman — Robert Cianflone/Getty Images AsiaPac photo —
Anyone that expected Jamie Whincup to slow down after effectively locking up his sixth V8 Supercars championship crown was sadly disappointed after ARMOR ALL Pole Qualifying for the 200 km finale of the Plus Fitness Phillip Island 400.
Whincup jumped to the top of the pylon midway through the 20 minute qualifying session and then toured the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit in 1:31.1812 seconds to claim his tenth top qualifying effort of the 2014 season and his 61st career V8SC pole.
The run broke a deadlock between Whincup and Volvo’s Scott McLaughlin for the season-long ARMOR ALL Pole Award. The pair had been tied at nine coming into qualifying for Race 35.
While McLaughlin was unable to claim the pole, he did secure the best possible starting spot besides, posting the second-quickest lap at 1:31.2551 seconds and setting up a Holden/Volvo battle on the front row between the two drivers who split the Race 33 and 34 wins between them.
Mark Winterbottom – searching for his first pole in over a year – clocked in third (1:31.3867) after he was thrown off by an issue Craig Lowndes had in the final moments of qualifying. Lowndes lines up 15th after an error at Siberia corner, but he was not off the course and Red Bull did not report any issues following the run. The two are separated by 44 points, fighting for second in the Championship with just four races to go.
HRT’s Garth Tander was fourth and Shane van Gisbergen rallied after missing both qualifying sessions yesterday due to a crash with Fabian Coulthard to slot in fifth on the grid.
Michael Caruso, Nick Percat, James Courtney, Jason Bright and Chaz Mostert rounded out the top 10.
The 200 km event begins at 3:55 p.m. local time.