McLaughlin seals pole with record lap

The defending champion was in a class of his own throughout qualifying, with healthy gaps to the field in both Q2 and Q3.

His Q2 lap was a 1m18.825s, which initially put him five-tenths up on the pack, only for teammate Fabian Coulthard to reduce the deficit to three-tenths on his final run.

In the decisive Q3 portion, however, McLaughlin could make the five-tenth gap over Coulthard stick, thanks to a lap record-smashing 1m18.523s.

“That one was awesome,” he said.

“I said to the guys I really wanted to go again [for a final run] because I felt like the car had the potential to do a big number.

“When the cloud cover came over it got a bit cooler, I got through Turn 1 really good and I thought ‘far out we’re on here’.

“The guys give me an awesome car all the time. I’m just really proud to be able to drive this amazing racecar.”

Coulthard will start the race from the outside of the front row, having narrowly edged out Red Bull Holden driver Jamie Whincup for second spot.

David Reynolds will start fourth, followed by Saturday polesitter Chaz Mostert and Anton De Pasquale.

There was a trio of Tickford Mustangs next in line, Will Davison leading Lee Holdsworth and Cam Waters, while Nissan’s Andre Heimgartner rounded out the Top 10.

Shane van Gisbergen will start the race down in 13th after failing to get out of Q2. The Red Bull Holden driver was one of several potential contenders to need to come through Q1, and while he did that comfortably with his final run, he couldn’t pull the same trick in Q2.

Mark Winterbottom, meanwhile, didn’t even make it out of Q1, the Team 18 driver set to start from 17th.

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