The cat and mouse game between Whincup and Courtney was just as vicious in qualifying as it was in the race. It was a matter of milliseconds between the two in the 20 minute dash for glory, Whincup taking the early edge before the Armor All Top Ten Shootout.
Courtney's strategy not to use new tyres in practice was an ace up his sleeve, as it was for Orccon Steel FPR's Mark Winterbottom and Dunlop Super Dealers' Richards who clearly mastered set-up from practice.
Winterbottom and Richards also had an edge on their tyres and setup. Both made spectacular returns to the top ten, Richards third and Winterbottom eighth.
The best story of qualifying though was the effort of Tander to come back after the clock had stopped. He was 17th and down the barrel of a midfield grid position. When he crossed the line for the first time with just 30 seconds left he had one lap at glory.
Once again the “Ice Man” lived up to his nerves of steel with a gutsy pressure lap that squeezed him into sixth and earnt him another life in the shootout.
Equally the Jack Daniel's Racing brothers Todd and Rick Kelly fired dramatic early shots. Todd Kelly reversed his fortunes of yesterday with a solid fourth but Rick Kelly could not repeat his third in practice despite firming in the Top Ten early.
Davison made a great return to form by squeezing into the Top Ten as he slowly inches his way back to the man who challenged Whincup all the way to second in last year's Championship.