Scott McLaughlin has delighted his vocal and local V8 Supercars support by winning pole position at the Auckland 500.
The Volvo man ran to the fence and celebrated with thousands of delighted Kiwi fans after posting the leading time at the Pukekohe circuit.
Just a thousandth of a second separated McLaughlin and Jamie Whincup, who will start from second on the grid, in an ultra-competitive qualifying session on Sunday.
Seven drivers took turns sitting on top of the timing charts during the 20-minute qualifying window before McLaughlin produced his star drive with less than a minute remaining.
The top eight cars were separated by just two tenths of a second, paving the way for an exciting 200km race, scheduled to start at 4pm local time (2pm AEDT).
Scott Pye continued his good weekend by qualifying third, with Saturday race-winner David Reynolds joining him on the second row of the grid.
The chief aspirants for the championship will start alongside each other on the fifth row.
Mark Winterbottom qualified ninth, with Craig Lowndes next to him in 10th.
The race is crucial to Winterbottom’s title ambitions.
The career Ford driver sits 287 points above nearest rival, stablemate Reynolds, and 306 points ahead of Red Bull veteran Lowndes.
Lowndes’ car was rebuilt overnight after the 41-year-old suffered a blown tyre at high speed during Saturday’s racing at Pukekohe.
With 150 points up for grabs in Sunday’s 69-lap race, Winterbottom cannot win the title today but will hope to maintain his commanding lead through to the next round at Phillip Island.