Motorsport: Kiwi McLaughlin grabs pole position

Kiwi sensation Scott McLaughlin has grabbed his second pole position in front of his home crowd for the final V8 Supercars race of the weekend. Photo / Getty Images.
Kiwi sensation Scott McLaughlin has grabbed his second pole position in front of his home crowd for the final V8 Supercars race of the weekend. Photo / Getty Images.

Kiwi sensation Scott McLaughlin has grabbed his second pole position in front of his home crowd for the final V8 Supercars race of the weekend.

McLaughlin dominated qualifying in his Volvo at Pukekohe on Sunday to secure a start on the front row, alongside Holden's Tim Slade who was just 0.0580secs behind.

Fellow New Zealander Shane van Gisbergen (Holden) qualified third fastest, ahead of series leader Mark Winterbottom and his teammate Chaz Mostert.

It is 20-year-old McLaughlin's third pole of his short V8 Supercars career, having also started from the front in the second of Saturday's 100km sprints.

Craig Lowndes' disappointing weekend went from bad to worse, the ever-smiling veteran bogging himself in the final minute of the session to qualify 15th.

Lowndes lost his championship lead on Saturday to Ford rival Winterbottom, who now holds a two-point buffer on the overall standings.

Meanwhile Jamie Whincup's bid to end his worst run of results in eight years took another hit, the five-time champion only managing to qualify in eighth.

Whincup hasn't stood on the podium in any of the past six championship races - something not seen since 2006, when he jumped from Holden to Ford to join Craig Lowndes at Triple Eight.

He came close with two fourth-placings in Saturday's sprint races, which was an improvement on Friday's last-place finish after his Commodore was dogged by power steering issues.

Whincup cemented himself as one of the category's greats last year, becoming just the fourth driver to ever win five championships.

But his tilt for a record sixth crown has proven a tough task.

Despite being the only driver to win three races this year, bad luck and a string of mechanical issues have cost him dearly - particularly last round at Winton.

After 12 races, he sits fifth on the overall drivers' standings - 94 points behind leader and long-time Ford rival Winterbottom.

But things could change dramatically on Sunday afternoon with 150 points up for grabs in the round-ending 200km race at 1.25pm (AEST).

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