Motorsport: SVG holds off Whincup to start both Saturday races from pole

By Dale Budge at Pukekohe Park Raceway

Shane van Gisbergen in action at Pukekohe Park Raceway. Photo / Matthew Hansen
Shane van Gisbergen in action at Pukekohe Park Raceway. Photo / Matthew Hansen

Kiwi Shane van Gisbergen has grabbed decisive back-to-back pole positions for both Saturday races at the ITM Auckland SuperSprint this afternoon.

The championship leader banged out successive fastest laps in qualifying to edge Red Bull Racing teammate and championship rival Jamie Whincup, who starts alongside him on the front row in both races.

New Zealander Scott McLaughlin will start the first race third in his Volvo sharing the second row of the grid with reigning series champion Mark Winterbottom in his Ford but finds himself down in eighth for the later race.

McLaughlin was content with starting third and eighth.

"Not too bad," he tells herald.co.nz. "The first one was pretty good. That was about all we had.

"The second - I made a bit of a stuff-up in the last run.

"We probably should be up around third. We aren't quite as fast as those Triple Eight guys - they are very fast - but we should be top five or so."

McLaughlin says he might have a crack from eighth if he makes a good start otherwise he will think about banking a good points haul to help his championship cause. He lies fourth - 76 points adrift of third placed Craig Lowndes.

"You can have a crack. It is tough. Our starts have been good this year - if you make up a couple of spots at the start.

"At the end of the day you have to think about points as well and we are ahead of Lowndesy - so really in both races I have an opportunity to close the gap massively.

"My engineer was letting me know where he was. We want to win as well but we have got an objective we want to complete by the end of the year."

Lowndes will start from position 21 and position 13 after a disappointing qualifying performance.

Kiwi Fabian Coulthard starts the second race from fourth position but will be 14th for the first race.

Freightliner Holden driver Tim Slade provided a moment of excitement on his final flying lap when he ran wide and swiped the wall on the hill in front of a big crowd during the first session. He didn't make it out to attempt to set a lap in session two.

"It wasn't a lot but enough to stop him from getting into the next qualifying session, which is a bit disappointing," team owner Brad Jones told herald.co.nz.

"We just had to change the right upright and a little bit of rear suspension.

"It was nothing structural but more than a 10-minute job."

Jones says they will do their best to manufacturer a result but it won't be easy with the format for this weekend.

"Unfortunately with no pit stops it is hard to play any strategy sort of game.

"I would [look at making a stop and putting on new tyres if there is a late safety car] - you are going to have to do something a little bit different. Especially in the first race I would definitely look at something like that."

The first race is scheduled to start 2.25pm.

Race 1 starting order
1.Shane van Gisbergen
2.Jamie Whincup
3.Scott McLaughlin
4.Mark Winterbottom
5.Garth Tander

Race 2 starting order
1.Shane van Gisbergen
2.Jamie Whincup
3.Chaz Mostert
4.Fabian Coulthard
5.Will Davison

- NZ Herald

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter

SIGN UP NOW

© Copyright 2016, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production bpcf02 at 06 Dec 2016 07:56:50 Processing Time: 564ms