Jamie Whincup’s championship-winning Commodore will start from pole position in the Sandown 500 after holding off the rampant V8 Supercars pair of Mark Winterbottom and Chaz Mostert in qualifying.
Despite showing superior pace since arriving at Sandown, Winterbottom and his young teammate weren’t able to wrest the lead off the Red Bull Racing man in a heated final confrontation for Sunday’s grid.
Showing why car No.1 is gunning for three straight wins in the Sandown race, Whincup’s co-driver Paul Dumbrell stole the lead on Saturday and then Whincup kept it.
In the co-drivers race, Dumbrell took advantage of mistakes from the fast Pepsi Max cars to take a lead from Cameron Waters and Steve Owen.
After a perfect start from the grid, Waters, 21, fell away on the first lap after a mistimed breaking effort.
Dumbrell completed a pass of Owen in the next lap and was never headed.
It was the same story at the front of the race in the drivers’ 20-lap race, with Whincup staying strong despite a determined challenge.
For much of the race, Whincup, Winterbottom, Mostert, Shane Van Gisbergen and David Reynolds were separated by around half a second each in a five-car battle royale for top places.
Mostert showed his pace, setting a new race lap record of 1:09.3416.
With just a few laps remaining, Andre Heimgartner’s smash into a cone marker cruelled Jack Perkins’ race and reset the field for a one-lap contest after a safety car.
But the field couldn’t be split, finishing in the above order and giving Holden their 300th pole position in the sport.