Kiwi Supercars star Shane van Gisbergen has picked up where he left off last season by banking the fastest time in qualifying for the opening race of the season on the streets of Adelaide.

The defending series champion set a time of 1:19.78s in his Red Bull Holden Racing Commodore to edge fellow Kiwi Scott McLaughlin by just .0001s.

"I went to the toilet before qualifying so maybe that was it," van Gisbergen joked about the smallest of gaps between the two cars.

"The car was not good this morning but we've worked at it and it was awesome then.


"I followed Scotty's car earlier today and it just looks like one of ours. They are doing very well.

"They're up there and we expected them to be so it is good to have great competition."

McLaughlin, who made the move from Volvo to DJR Team Penske over the off-season had earlier broken the lap record in practice. The two Kiwis will go head-to-head in tomorrow's top 10 shootout that sets the grid order for the afternoon race.

"I'm pretty happy. A lot of hard work has gone in - not just here but at the shop," Mclaughlin said.

"I'm over the moon.

"I love that one lap. It is always tough around here - Shane is one of the best in the business and we are in the toughest touring car catergory in the world."

Nissan's Rick Kelly qualified third while James Courtney continued his strong run at the Clipsal 500 by setting the fifth fastest time.

Kiwi Fabian Coulthard was sixth while van Gisbergen's Red Bull Holden Racing Team teammate Jamie Whincup was seventh.


There are two 250km races across the weekend - one on Saturday and one Sunday.

Qualifying Results
1. Shane van Gisbergen (Holden) 1:19.78s
2. Scott McLaughlin (Ford) +.0001s
3. Rick Kelly (Nissan) +.0801s
4. James Courtney (Holden) +.0864s
5. Chaz Mostert (Ford) +.0870s
6. Fabian Coulthard (Ford) +.1102s
7. Jamie Whincup (Holden) +.1163s
8. Mark Winterbottom (Ford) +.2759s
9. Cameron Waters (Ford) +.2760
10. David Reynolds (Holden) +.3244s