Today Mark Winterbottom has claimed his first Armor ALL Pole Position in an Irwin Racing Holden and his first pole in 1000 days for this afternoon’s opening race of the 2019 Tyrepower Tasmania Supersprint.
The last time Winterbottom claimed pole was in July 2016 at Townsville as a Ford driver, but today repaid defied his heavily fancied rivals to claim Charlie Schwerkolt’s first ever pole position as the owner of Team 18 in the Irwin Racing ZB Commodore.
The other major story out of the new three-part qualifying session was the greatest winner ever in Tasmania, Jamie Whincup, who spun his way down the starting grid after a mistake in qualifying.
Winterbottom will start this afternoon’s 120km race alongside reigning Supercars Champion, Scott McLaughlin who is battling the flu yet still managed the second quickest lap time in his Shell V-Power Ford Mustang.
Red Bull Holden’s Shane van Gisbergen will start third, McLaughlin’s teammate Fabian Coulthard fourth followed by the four Commodores of David Reynolds, James Courtney, Tim Slade and Anton De Pasquale while the Tickford trio of Lee Holdsworth, Cam Waters and Chaz Mostert make up positions 9-11.
Whincup, who has won 12 times at Symmons Plains, pushed his Red Bull Holden wide and lost control heading into the hairpin on one of his opening laps of qualifying. He spun into the deep gravel and needed assistance to return to the track.
He will start this afternoon’s race from 15th on the grid.
Just twice in the last 25 Supercars races at Symmons Plains has the winner come from outside the top three positions on the grid – Jamie Whincup started fifth and won the Sunday race in 2012, even despite a mid-race spin at the hairpin, while Fabian Coulthard started sixth before going on to win the Sunday race in 2017.