Reigning V8 Supercar champion Garth Tander gave Toll HRT team-mate Mark Skaife and the works Holden team a chance of a rare double when he claimed pole position for Sunday's Supercheap Bathurst 1000.
After quietly going about their business in the week leading up to the 48th running of the Mount Panorama event, Tander scorched his way to pole with a lap of 2min 07.29secs. Remarkably, despite it being his 15th career pole, it was his first at Bathurst.
Tander and Skaife, who won the season's first enduro, the L&H 500 at Phillip Island, edged out Mark Winterbottom and Steven Richards' Ford Performance Racing Falcon, with James Courtney with David Besnard third for Stone Brother Racing.
Tander was sixth out in the Top Ten Shoot-out, but emerged from the shadows with a superb run made more difficult after dirt was dropped on the track from an earlier incident.
“It was a tough Shoot-out because I did not know how hard to push down through Forest Elbow because of the dirt and junk that was on the track,” Tander confirmed, “I knew I had to do a strong last sector though, because the track would clean up as the Shoot-out went on. It was that last sector that got us out of jail.
“We were happy to move up to the second row, but anywhere forward of there was a bonus. We're obviously very happy to be starting on pole but, ten laps into tomorrow's race, I'm not to sure if anyone will care where they all started.”
Veteran team-mate Mark Skaife, chasing his sixth victory on the Mountain, said there was no more pressure than usual on the pairing, despite Tander leading the championship.
“Whenever we race, we have the weight of expectation of Holden fans and Holden itself to do our best, and that's what we will do,” Skaife said.
Winterbottom, who stole fastest time in Friday's qualifying session, tried to claim the pole with a last-ditch effort, recovering from a poor start to go ahead of Tander at the second time check, but ultimately had to settle for second place, just 13/100ths of a second back.