Defending champions Craig Lowndes and Jamie Whincup have grabbed pole position for the L&H 500 after two qualifying races at Phillip Island.

Lowndes was eleventh with a pit stop in the first super-sprint race, allowing Whincup to skip clear to win the second 14-lap race.

It put them on pole for tomorrow's 500km endure, edging out the HSV Dealer team of Rick Kelly and Paul Radisich with Stone Brothers Racing Ford pair of James Courtney and David Besnard third.

"It's nice to be on pole for the first time this year," Lowndes said. "No-one knew a lot about the strategy with the sprint races. But the team effort has been fantastic and now we can re-focus for tomorrow."

While the cream to the top in today's super-sprints, it was the performances of part-timers Besnard and Radisich that sealed the deal.

Radisich, who basically finished his fulltime career following his spectacular crash at Bathurst in 2006, produced a strong performance in the second race to place 17th with the pit stop while Kelly won the opener impressively.

Besnard, like Radisich, has not raced competitively in the class since Bathurst last year. He raced through the field from 18th on the grid to finish 13th with the pit stop and give Courtney the straight run for third in the second super-sprint.

"It's definitely a hard job jumping out of nothing into something but it was great," Radisich said. "Rick did a great job and I just did my part to do a good smooth race and not have any offs. All the cars in front of me didn't have to stop but it was just a matter of getting as high up as possible.

"It was quite satisfying personally to get down in the 33s during qualifying today."

Some of the pre-race favourites will need to work their way through from the middle of the pack if they are to get a share of the spoils in tomorrow's 500km enduro.

The powerful Ford Performance Racing pairing of Mark Winterbottom and Steven Richards will start back on the sixth row after Richards spun out following a confrontation with kiwi compatriot Jason Richards.

Championship leader Garth Tander and Holden Racing Team veteran Mark Skaife are on the fifth row after Tander went off on the first lap and was pushed back to the rear of the field before recovering to finish seventh.

The Jim Beam Racing team will look forward with confidence with their teams in fourth and fifth spots on the grid for tomorrow while Russell Ingall and Paul Morris are sixth.

Nineteen-year-old Shane van Gisbergen and his SP Tools Ford team-mate Jonathon Webb are seventh on the grid alongside the well-performed Jason Bright and Adam Macrow (Fujitsu Racing Ford).

The top ten is rounded out with the Sprint Gas Racing Holden pair of Greg Murphy and Jason Richards alongside Toll Holden's duo of Skaife and Tander.