Jamie Whincup has become the first Ford driver to take pole at Surfers Paradise since 1999 after securing top spot in qualifying for the V8 Supercars Coffee Club Challenge on the Gold Coast.
The current points leader overcame a slight issue with the gear lever in his Team Vodafone Falcon to take pole with just three minutes of the session remaining.
His quickest time of 1min 49.1828secs put him six-tenths of a second clear of the field, with title rival Garth Tander slotting into second place.
“I am stoked,” Whincup said. “The car was fantastic right from the get go. We have achieved our first goal for the weekend, now I have to capitalise on that and get out in front and stay in the clean air tomorrow. I do love this track and when you have a fast car it makes it even more fun to drive.”
Tander, the defending round winner at Indy, said he was pleased to be on the front row of the grid, although he admitted that the Toll HRT squad had work to do on its Holden Commodore overnight to improve the balance and close the gap to the leader.
"We said before the start of the weekend if we could qualify on the first couple of rows we'd be happy and we're on the front row, so today has gone okay,” he said. “The car was good first up, but we probably didn't make the gains we needed to make. The car balance isn't as I'd like, so we've got a little bit of work to do tonight. You've got to fight the whole way and that's what we'll do, along with doing the best we can."
One of the starts of qualifying, as was the case last time out at Bathurst, was HSV Dealer Team driver Paul Dumbrell.
Dumbrell was quick from the onset in the #16 Autobarn Commodore and was quick throughout practice before securing third place on the grid – his best qualifying performance of the year to date.
“Today's result has been a combination of a lot of hard work over the last twelve months and especially the last three months,” he said. “I have been focusing on the process rather than the outcome and if you get the process right the outcome will be there as well. Over the last three or four rounds we have had good speed but probably haven't had the consistency that we needed. Bathurst was a big part of that and I have been able to take the confidence from there and roll the car out of the truck and be on the pace.”
Mark Winterbottom, currently second in the drivers' standings, was fourth quickest on the times although he admitted he was struggling to find grip in his FPR Falcon, while Craig Lowndes was able to take fifth despite backing into the wall at turn four during the second phase of qualifying and damaging the rear of his car. Russell Ingall took sixth for Supercheap Auto Racing and was second quickest of the Holden runners.
Will Davison was seventh for Jim Beam Racing ahead of Todd and Rick Kelly – the latter back in his old car following Paul Radisich's Bathurst shunt – while the top ten was completed by James Courtney's JELD-WEN Falcon.