V8SC: Double Down; Whincup Smashes Adelaide Track Record, Sweeps Qualifying for Opening Two Races

Jacob Seelman Featured, International, Supercars 0 Comments

ADELAIDE, South Australia — Report by Race Chaser Online Managing Editor Jacob Seelman — Morne de Klerk/Getty Images AsiaPac photo —

Sometimes all Jamie Whincup has to do is smile and wave, and good things just seem to happen.

Whincup kicked off the 2015 V8 Supercars Championship season in smashing style on Friday, earning the first two ARMOR ALL Pole Awards of the year and setting a new all-time track record in the process.

The six-time and defending V8SC champion shattered the single-lap record in the first of Friday’s back-to-back 10-minute qualifying sessions to open the Clipsal 500 race weekend, then went faster still in the second session with a lap of 1:20.0319 seconds to establish the mark. The lap is 0.34 seconds faster than the previous record of 1:20.377 seconds, set by Shane van Gisbergen in Sunday qualifying last year.

The poles were the 62nd and 63rd of Whincup’s legendary career, after Whincup failed to crack the top ten at the sydney.com SuperTest Shootout at the beginning of the month.

“I’m absolutely rapt with that,” Whincup said. “At the test day we were unsure where our pace was, if the work we put in over the break was enough. It’s very nice to come away with two poles.”

“(I know there’s) no Championship points – pay day is tomorrow – but it’s good to know we’re very quick.”

Fabian Coulthard and Scott McLaughlin — with whom Whincup had a scintillating battle in Adelaide last year — were the Red Bull driver’s chief competition in qualifying. Coulthard will start on the outside of the front row in race one, while the Kiwi will roll from the second spot on the grid in race two behind the wheel of his Wilson Security Volvo.

McLaughlin will start third in Race One, followed by FPR young gun Chaz Mostert and Holden star James Courtney rounding out the top five on the grid.

For Race Two, Courtney will line up behind Whincup and McLaughlin, with Coulthard starting alongside in fourth. Talented Kiwi and former Clipsal 500 winner Shane van Gisbergen, who starts outside the top ten in the first race, completes the fast five on the grid for the second 125 km shootout.

Whincup’s teammate Craig Lowndes struggled slightly in qualifying — the all-time V8SC race winner will roll from eighth and seventh, respectively, in the two events.

Two-time series champion and returning star Marcos Ambrose battled heavily in his first qualifying runs of the season, and will start 24th of the 25 cars on the grid in both Saturday races.

Tim Blanchard will start shotgun on both sprints after missing the first qualifying session and going slowest in the second — his Lucas Dumbrell team repaired Blanchard’s Commodore after an unusual issue had their driver down nearly 10 kph on the rest of the field in qualifying.

The final practice session in advance of the opening race of the season rolls off at 10:10 a.m. local time on Saturday, with the two 125 km races to follow on the streets of Adelaide.

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