Reigning Bathurst 12 Hour winner Matt Campbell put in a stunning Top 10 Shootout lap to secure pole in the #911 Absolute Porsche, while several big crashes rocked qualifying day.
Both segments of qualifying were affected by significant crashes, with a frightening incident involving Sam Shahin and Tyler Everingham in the first session, followed by Marvin Kirchhoefer rolling his Aston Mart in the second.
The first incident started when Cameron McConville (#6 Wall Lamborghini) tagged the back of the #777 Triple Eight Mercedes, sending Sam Shahin into the wall on the right before the car fired across to the left-hand side of the road.
Nick Percat and Chaz Mostert, next on the scene, were lucky to miss the stricken Mercedes. Tyler Everingham was less lucky, his Marc II sustaining heavy damage after he clipped Shahin and hit the wall on the way into the Dipper.
Both Shahin and Everingham were able to walk away from their respective wreckages.
Triple Eight boss Roland Dane slammed McConville for his part in the crash, suggesting the former Supercars regular "should've retired years ago."
"No idea what the impact is like to be honest, I'm more concerned with firstly how Sam is right now," said Dane. "He got out of the car, looked to be a bit winded.
"Then the next thing is the idiot who took him out, McConville, who should've retired years ago - and that shows it."
McConville, while remorseful, countered that Shahin hit the brakes at the worst possible moment.
Kirchhoefer's R-Motorsport Aston Martin was tipped into a frightening rollover after he tagged the wall at the Grate.
He was uninjured in the crash, however the car is not expected to take any further part in the weekend.
With just minutes left to run in the second session there was a third major incident, Dean Canto spinning his Lamborghini on the way into Skyline before bouncing over the tyre wall and coming to a rest on top of it.
The session was red flagged and not restarted, leaving reigning race winner Campbell on provisional pole.
The Aussie was then unstoppable in the single-lap dash, only falling a tenth short of his regular qualifying time with a 2m03.555.
That left him two-tenths clear of the pack, securing a first Allan Simonsen Trophy for Porsche.
"I put everything on the line, I was really pushing hard," said Campbell. I missed a few apexes but overall there was nothing left on the table.
"It's a fantastic result, first time here in the new-generation car. This is one I've wanted for a long time. I've had many attempts at a Shootout and this one I put it all together."
Alvaro Parente was best of the rest, the 59Racing McLaren driver edging #999 GruppeM Mercedes driver Raffaele Marciello by just 0.04s.
The #18 KCMG Nissan will start from fourth after Joao Paulo de Oliveira made up three spots compared to qualifying.
Laurens Vanthoor put the #1 EBM Porsche fifth on the grid, while Maro Engel (#77 Craft-Bamboo Mercedes) went from being up at the second sector on his lap to dropping to sixth.
Kelvin van der Linde was seventh quickest in the #222 Valvoline Audi, recovering from a moment at Hell Corner with a stunning middle sector, with Shane van Gisbergen eighth in the #888 Triple Eight Mercedes.
Marco Mapelli was ninth in the #63 FFF Lamborghini, as Jake Dennis dropped two spots compared to qualifying with the 10th best time aboard the #76 R-Motorsport Aston Martin.