Mark Winterbottom gave his slim V8 Supercars title hopes a boost by beating championship leader Jamie Whincup to pole position at Winton.
The Ford Performance Racing man jumped to the top of the timesheets for the first time with nine minutes of qualifying remaining, setting a 1m23.1443s that would ultimately prove unmatched.
It was far from comfortable however, with the field all pitting for fresh rubber in the final minutes.
On his last lap Whincup, victorious in all three races last time out on the Yas Marina circuit, managed to better Winterbottom's benchmark in the opening sector, only to lose time across the rest of the lap.
He ended the session 15 hundredths of a second shy of pole, although he did at least have the comfort of securing a front row berth.
Brad Jones Holden's Jason Bright will start one spot further back in third, after a blazing final lap earned him a fourth top-three grid slot of the season.
It also moved him ahead of Stone Brothers Ford man Shane van Gisbergen, who had been fastest at the midway point.
James Moffat (Dick Johnson Ford) finished fifth ahead of Lee Holdsworth, Fabian Coulthard and James Courtney.
As Winterbottom and Whincup locked out the front row, their respective team-mates Will Davison and Craig Lowndes struggled.
Fourth and third in the championship, the pair fell as other made late improvements and eventually found themselves demoted to a share of the eighth row - Lowndes starting one spot ahead of Davison in 15th.
Pos Driver Team/Car Time Gap 1. Mark Winterbottom FPR Ford 1m23.1443s 2. Jamie Whincup Triple 8 Holden 1m23.3019s + 0.1576s 3. Jason Bright Brad Jones Holden 1m23.4422s + 0.2979s 4. Shane van Gisbergen Stone Brothers Ford 1m23.4505s + 0.3062s 5. James Moffat Dick Johnson Ford 1m23.4879s + 0.3436s 6. Lee Holdsworth Stone Brothers Ford 1m23.5808s + 0.4365s 7. Fabian Coulthard Brad Jones Holden 1m23.5875s + 0.4432s 8. James Courtney HRT Holden 1m23.5963s + 0.4520s 9. Rick Kelly Kelly Holden 1m23.6066s + 0.4623s 10. David Reynolds Rod Nash/FPR Ford 1m23.6139s + 0.4696s 11. Garth Tander HRT Holden 1m23.6523s + 0.5080s 12. Tony d'Alberto D'Alberto Ford 1m23.6613s + 0.5170s 13. Steve Owen Paul Morris/DJR Ford 1m23.6889s + 0.5446s 14. Michael Caruso Garry Rogers Holden 1m23.6918s + 0.5475s 15. Craig Lowndes Triple 8 Holden 1m23.7115s + 0.5672s 16. Will Davison FPR Ford 1m23.7301s + 0.5858s 17. Alexandre Premat Garry Rogers Holden 1m23.7865s + 0.6422s 18. Tim Slade Rosenberg/SBR Ford 1m23.7993s + 0.6550s 19. Jonathon Webb Tekno Holden 1m23.8601s + 0.7158s 20. Taz Douglas Dumbrell Holden 1m23.8697s + 0.7524s 21. Karl Reindler Kelly Holden 1m23.9085s + 0.8362s 22. Russell Ingall Walkinshaw Holden 1m24.0059s + 0.8606s 23. David Wall Britek/BJR Holden 1m24.0319s + 0.8867s 24. Michael Patrizi Tekno Holden 1m24.0370s + 0.8927s 25. Dean Fiore Triple F/DJR Ford 1m24.1116s + 0.9637s 26. Greg Murphy Kelly Holden 1m24.1197s + 0.9754s 27. Steven Johnson Dick Johnson Ford 1m24.1386s + 0.9943s 28. Tim Blanchard Kelly Holden 1m24.2173s + 1.0730s
Subscribe to Autosport Plus
Register for free