8 Oct 2016

NZ drivers fighting for Bathurst pole

6:13 am on 8 October 2016

Three New Zealand V8 supercars drivers have advanced to today's top ten qualifying shootout at Bathurst, with Scott McGlaughlin, Fabian Coulthard and Shane van Gisbergen in with a chance of taking pole.

Scott McLaughlin gets airborne in his Volvo.

Scott McLaughlin gets airborne in his Volvo. Photo: Photosport

Holden's Jamie Whincup again dominated to claim provisional pole at Mount Panorama for Sunday's Great Race.

But six-time winner Craig Lowndes' Bathurst title defence already appears in tatters.

Veteran Lowndes finished 21st on Friday in the 27-strong Supercars field - his worst qualifying finish at Mount Panorama.

Lowndes, 42, contested his first Great Race in 1994.

Whincup fell 0.14 of a second short of his lap record to top qualifying ahead of a fast-finishing Scott McLaughlin of Volvo.

Holden's Tim Slade was third quickest before today's top-10 shootout to finalise the front of the grid.

Coulthard was fifth fastest in a Ford and series leader van Gisbergen sixth fastest in a Holden.

Whincup had been tipped to shatter his own lap record, set last year, after dominating practice at Mount Panorama but fell short, clocking two minutes, 05.04 seconds.

"The number doesn't mean anything - it's the position," Whincup said of the missed record chance.

"I now have to do a job at the shootout."

On the day Ford Australia closed its factory doors for the last time, Chaz Mostert tried to give Blue Oval fans something to cheer about in his Falcon.

Returning to the mountain after his 2015 Bathurst campaign ended with a horrific qualifying crash, Mostert topped the timesheets for most of the 40-minute session before being relegated to fourth fastest.

Defending series champion Mark Winterbottom of Ford was seventh quickest.

Red flags came out during qualifying when Holden's Shae Davies and later female driver Simona de Silvestro (Nissan) speared off The Chase and into the sand.

That relegated them to the back of the grid for Sunday's race.