Whincup gets pole position in Townsville

Supercars championship leader Jamie Whincup has secured pole position for Saturday’s 200km race in Townsville.

It’s the Holden star’s first pole of the year.

Whincup’s one minute and 12.1443 second lap was a new qualifying lap record at the Reid Park street circuit and ensure’s he’ll start ahead alongside Red Bull Racing teammate Shane Van Gisbergen on the grid.

“I’ve made my run a little bit late this year, we’ll start from mid-season,” Whincup said.

“Happy with pole. Car’s fantastic.”

Whincup is chasing an eighth race win in Townsville as he attempts to extend his 30-point championship lead.

Van Gisbergen, who spent part of the 20-minute session with his car inside the garage, clocked a 1:12.3242 to qualify second.

Holden’s James Courtney (1:12.4368) and Ford’s Chaz Mostert (1:12.4544) make up the second-row of the grid.

Defending series champion Mark Winterbottom – who won both races in Townsville last year – will start from fifth.

Veteran Craig Lowndes will start 11th after an underwhelming qualifying display.

Former Bathurst 1000 winner Nick Percat was penalised two grid positions after blocking Aaren Russell early in the session, meaning he’ll start from 19th.

Teenager Kurt Kostecki, making his first Supercars race start, will start from 26th alongside Russell.

Saturday’s race starts at 4.10pm.

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