Winterbottom takes tight Hamilton pole

Ford Performance Racing's Mark Winterbottom took pole by the narrowest of margins in a hard-fought battle for pole position for race one of the Hamilton 400 on the streets of Hamilton in New Zealand

Winterbottom takes tight Hamilton pole

Winterbottom took the top spot from Jim Beam Racing's Steven Johnson after Michael Caruso had spent most of the top ten shootout on top of the times. Fastest in the second leg of qualifying, Whincup was last to go out in the shootout.

It was nip and tuck at the two splits and even closer at the finish, Winterbottom holding onto pole by seven ten-thousandths of a second. Behind them on the second row will be Johnson and Caruso, with Tander just a whisker slower.

Just behind them will be Lee Holdsworth and Craig Lowndes who only ended up seventh-fastest after setting the third-best time in the previous session, James Courtney and the Kelly brothers Rick and Todd completing the top ten.

Just outside the top ten in 11th and 12th are Shane van Gisbergen and Will Davison, just ahead of Jack Perkins. Marcus Marshall continues to show good speed in his older BF Falcon in 15th, while Russell Ingall struggled a little and will start 18th.

Last year's pole man and team-mate of this year's pole man Steven Richards failed to make it through leg one and will start down in 22nd position. Tony D'Alberto was excluded from the session after losing a wheel nut during the first leg of qualifying, causing the session to be red flagged.

Pos Driver Car Time 1. Mark Winterbottom Ford Falcon FG 1:23.8053 2. Jamie Whincup Ford Falcon FG 1:23.8060 + 0.0007 3. Steven Johnson Ford Falcon FG 1:24.0691 + 0.2638 4. Michael Caruso Holden Commodore VE 1:24.0801 + 0.2748 5. Garth Tander Holden Commodore VE 1:24.0862 + 0.2809 6. Lee Holdsworth Holden Commodore VE 1:24.1885 + 0.3832 7. Craig Lowndes Ford Falcon FG 1:24.3101 + 0.5048 8. James Courtney Ford Falcon FG 1:24.4742 + 0.6689 9. Rick Kelly Holden Commodore VE 1:24.5275 + 0.7222 10. Todd Kelly Holden Commodore VE 1:24.5789 + 0.7736 11. Shane van Gisbergen Ford Falcon FG 1:24.2719 + 0.4666 12. Will Davison Holden Commodore VE 1:24.2794 + 0.4741 13. Jack Perkins Holden Commodore VE 1:24.3279 + 0.5226 14. Paul Dumbrell Holden Commodore VE 1:24.3472 + 0.5419 15. Marcus Marshall Ford Falcon BF 1:24.4468 + 0.6415 16. Alex Davison Ford Falcon FG 1:24.5732 + 0.7679 17. Greg Murphy Holden Commodore VE 1:24.7332 + 0.9279 18. Russell Ingall Holden Commodore VE 1:24.7985 + 0.9932 19. Jason Bright Ford Falcon BF 1:34.2732 + 0.4679 20. Jason Richards Holden Commodore VE 1:35.3031 + 1.4978 21. Fabian Coulthard Ford Falcon FG 1:24.7554 + 0.9501 22. Steven Richards Ford Falcon FG 1:24.9339 + 1.1286 23. David Reynolds Holden Commodore VE 1:24.9360 + 1.1307 24. Jason Bargwanna Holden Commodore VE 1:24.9723 + 1.1670 25. Tim Slade Holden Commodore VE 1:25.0216 + 1.2163 26. Michael Patrizi Ford Falcon BF 1:25.1275 + 1.3222 27. Cameron McConville Holden Commodore VE 1:25.6558 + 1.8505 28. Dean Fiore Holden Commodore VE 1:25.9853 + 2.1800 29. Dale Wood Holden Commodore VE 1:26.1629 + 2.3576 EXC Tony D'Alberto Holden Commodore VE - 
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