Whincup on pole for first V8s race at GP

Jamie Whincup will start from pole position at Albert Park’s Formula One circuit for the first time after qualifying fastest for the opening race of V8 Supercars’ non-championship round.

The six-time series champion edged out Ford’s defending titleholder Mark Winterbottom by 0.02secs in hot conditions on Thursday evening.

Whincup hasn’t won at the Australian Grand Prix event since 2011, when he went on to win the first of four consecutive V8 titles.

“We were pretty dismal here last year, I think we qualified 10th, so to turn things around this year is a positive thing for the team,” the Holden driver said.

“We’ve given ourselves a good opportunity to put on a good show this weekend.”

While no championship points are up for grabs this round, the 33-year-old insists it won’t make absolutely no difference to the way he drives.

“Everyone’s going to go out there and go hard,” he added.

“It’s not going to affect the spectacle one bit if there’s points up for grabs or not. If anything, those 50-50 (risks), you take them because – why not?”

Winterbottom began his charge towards the 2015 crown in Melbourne last year after winning the event overall.

Behind he and Whincup on the frontrow will be DJR Team Penske’s Fabian Coulthard and Winterbottom’s teammate Chaz Mostert. Shane van Gisbergen completes the top five.

The first 12-lap race begins at 2.20pm (AEDT) on Friday, with the results to determine the grid position for race two at 6.20pm.

A third race will be held on Saturday, before a final dash on Sunday.

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