Jamie Whincup has steered clear of a Sandown shake-up to claim pole position for the 500-kilometre classic on Sunday.
Together with co-driver Paul Dumbrell, the sport’s statesman found clear air to claim a third-straight Sandown 500 pole.
Garth Tander will join him on the front row, with Volvo pair Scott McLaughlin and James Moffat earning places on the second row with determined drives across the three-stage qualifying process on Saturday.
But further back, it wasn’t so simple.
Craig Lowndes and the Ford quartet of Mark Winterbottom, Chaz Mostert, Cam Waters and Scott Pye were the biggest losers on a tumultuous day’s racing.
Winterbottom and Lowndes watched on as their title bids were shaken with their co-drivers in their cars.
On the first turn of the first lap of the co-drivers qualifying race, Winterbottom’s partner Dean Canto served a drive-through penalty for making contact with Lowndes’ co-driver Steve Richards in car No.888.
Canto burst from 11th on the grid and weaved his way to a strong position but bashed Richards’ Commodore from behind, turning him around and claiming Tony D’Alberto as well.
D’Alberto’s co-driver Scott Pye was scathing on Canto for his “stupid” approach.
“He’d already made up a few places, I mean how many do you want before the first corner,” he said.
The Falcons would suffer further blows, with Chaz Mostert blowing his front-row position to finish fifth, with Cam Waters being shunted off the track by Moffat and qualifying last.
Forlorn team boss Tim Edwards summarised their efforts as “a shocking last hour”.
Shane van Gisbergen bashed Fabian Coulthard out of the way before redressing his error.
Tander said he missed it all with his best qualifying effort of the season.
“It looks like there was plenty going on. Up the front Jamie, Scotty and I were pretty boring,” he laughed.