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Whincup seals pole for first qualifying race at non-championship Albert Park weekend

Jamie WhincupReigning V8 Supercars champion Jamie Whincup sealed pole position for tomorrow's first qualifying race as part of the Australian Grand prix support races at Albert Park.

The 29-year-old smashed the previous lap record with a 1m55.0805s, putting him almost half a second clear of the field.

"We're in good shape, I didn't want to burn up too many tyres," Whincup said following the session. "We have some pretty important people coming tomorrow, so we want to put on a good show."

Mark Winterbottom (FPR Ford) and Shane van Gisbergen (Stone Brothers Ford) complete the front three on the grid for tomorrow's qualifying race - the first of three such races before a 'final' on Sunday, for which a (AUS) $500,000 prize fund has been put up.

The new format also involves a knock-out system in which the last three cars on each lap will be black-flagged until the field is down to 10 cars - at which point they will have five laps to settle the final order.

Each driver will then be awarded points for their finishing position, with the total over the three qualifying races used to determine the grid for the Sunday final.

Whincup's Triple 8 team-mate Craig Lowndes will start tomorrow's opening qualifying race from fifth.

Garth Tander (HRT Holden), Tony D'Alberto (D'Alberto Ford) and David Reynolds (Rod Nash/FPR Ford) completed the top eight.

Qualifying Results:

Pos  Driver               Team/Car              Time         Gap
 1.  Jamie Whincup        Triple 8 Holden       1m55.0805s
 2.  Mark Winterbottom    FPR Ford              1m55.5648s   + 0.4843s
 3.  Shane van Gisbergen  Stone Brothers Ford   1m55.6802s   + 0.5997s
 4.  Will Davison         FPR Ford              1m55.7447s   + 0.6642s
 5.  Craig Lowndes        Triple 8 Holden       1m55.9304s   + 0.8499s
 6.  Garth Tander         HRT Holden            1m56.2841s   + 1.2036s
 7.  Tony D'Alberto       D'Alberto Ford        1m56.3597s   + 1.2792s
 8.  David Reynolds       Rod Nash/FPR Ford     1m56.3928s   + 1.3123s
 9.  Michael Caruso       Garry Rogers Holden   1m56.4374s   + 1.3569s
10.  Rick Kelly           Kelly Holden          1m56.5473s   + 1.4668s
11.  Tim Slade            Rosenberg/SBR Ford    1m56.6163s   + 1.5358s
12.  Todd Kelly           Kelly Holden          1m56.7128s   + 1.6323s
13.  Lee Holdsworth       Stone Brothers Ford   1m56.7776s   + 1.6971s
14.  Alexandre Premat     Garry Rogers Holden   1m56.8335s   + 1.7530s
15.  Greg Murphy          Kelly Holden          1m56.8517s   + 1.7712s
16.  Fabian Coulthard     Brad Jones Holden     1m56.8732s   + 1.7927s
17.  James Courtney       HRT Holden            1m56.8746s   + 1.7941s
18.  Russell Ingall       Walkinshaw Holden     1m56.9799s   + 1.8994s
19.  Steven Johnson       Dick Johnson Ford     1m57.1641s   + 2.0836s
20.  Steve Owen           Dick Johnson Ford     1m57.1884s   + 2.1079s
21.  Michael Patrizi      Tekno Holden          1m57.2053s   + 2.1248s
22.  Taz Douglas          Dumbrell Holden       1m57.2456s   + 2.1651s
23.  Karl Reindler        Kelly Holden          1m57.2615s   + 2.1810s
24.  Jason Bright         Brad Jones Holden     1m57.3541s   + 2.2736s
25.  Dean Fiore           Triple F Ford         1m57.4308s   + 2.3503s
26.  James Moffat         Dick Johnson Ford     1m57.4325s   + 2.3520s
27.  Jonathon Webb        Tekno Holden          1m57.6749s   + 2.5944s
28.  David Wall           Britek/BJR Holden     1m58.2898s   + 3.2093s

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