Frosty breaks 1000-day pole position drought
MARK Winterbottom has claimed his first pole position in 1000 days, securing the position for Saturday's Supersprint race at Symmons Plains by edging out championship leader Scott McLaughlin in qualifying.
Vindicating his big move from his long-time Ford family at Tickford Racing to the Team 18 Holden for this season, an emotional Winterbottom secured his place at the front of the grid for this afternoon's 50-lap race by just 0.0040 sec from McLaughlin and Triple Eight's Shane van Gisbergen.
It was the 2015 Supercars champion's first pole position since race 15 in Townsville in 2016.
"That's awesome. I'm a bit emotional - it's been a while,'' Winterbottom said after qualifying at the front in Q3.
"I'm pretty pumped, I'm so proud of my guys. We worked so hard and we have been building which has been really nice … it's all falling into place.
"I came here because I saw a good opportunity. I am enjoying my racing, I am loving working with this team.
"There is only 15 of us and that's not a hindrance at all. When you do things like this, you can see the emotion that it means, they have never had a pole before so I can contribute to that and let's see if we can get them their first trophy and have some fun.''
McLaughlin, who has been battling a cold this weekend, was confident in his car ahead of this afternoon's race.
"I'm feeling pretty second-hand. The car was awesome, I just made a mistake on that first run that we did there," McLaughlin said.
"Overall a really good start for us and good starting point. I really like (the car) … so we'll see how we go."
After setting the lap record in practice on Friday, there was disaster for Triple Eight's Jamie Whincup in Q2 after he caught the dirt on the side of the track, lost the rear and ran off at the tight turn four hairpin.
It brought an immediate end to Whincup's qualifying session and meant the seven-time Supercars champion would start from the back of the grid for this afternoon's 50-lap race.
"I just locked the rear's under brakes, there is not much run off there. I just tried to spin the car around and stay out of the dirt and couldn't manage it,'' Whincup said.
"Small error, but costly mistake … I'm disappointed in myself for making the mistake, apologies to everyone here, but we'll see what we can do."
It is a blow to Whincup's bid to close the gap on series leader McLaughlin, who he trails by just 31 points in the championship standings.
Whincup has a dominant record at Symmons Plains, having won 12 races here since 2007. No other current driver has more than three.
One of only two races winners alongside McLaughlin this season, Tickford Racing's Chaz Mostert was a casualty of the knockout qualifying format and will start from 11th on the grid after he failed to progress past Q2.
The Saturday race is a 120km, 50-lap sprint beginning at 3.40pm AEST.