Scott McLaughlin has secured pole position for the first of the Townsville 400's two races. Picture: Alix Sweeney
Scott McLaughlin has secured pole position for the first of the Townsville 400's two races. Picture: Alix Sweeney

McLaughlin snares pole at Townsville Supercars

SUPERCARS championship leader Scott McLaughlin has snared pole position - for the eighth time this season - for Saturday's race at the Townsville 400.

The DJR Team Penske star clocked a fastest-lap of 1min 12.1239sec in qualifying at the 2.86km Reid Park circuit to pip defending champion Jamie Whincup to pole.

"Everyone at Shell V-Power Racing had their heads down last night, we weren't the quickest car but we knew we could be," McLaughlin told Fox Sports.

"We've certainly worked on it and thankfully we got the goods."

Whincup posted a 1:12.1792 as he aims to secure his 10th career win in Townsville and get his championship defence back on track.

Saturday's qualifying began under overcast skies in north Queensland, with the fastest laps coming early in the session before the track warmed.

"I thought the track was getting quicker, that's why we rolled through three sets of tyres like car 17 (McLaughlin) but, yeah, quickest time was right at the start," Whincup said.

Red Bull Holden Racing Team stablemate Shane Van Gisbergen was the third fastest with a 1:12.1792 and he'll start alongside Erebus Motorsport's David Reynolds (1:12.2795) on the second row of the grid.

Veteran Craig Lowndes, who on Friday announced he'll retire from full-time racing at the end of 2018, qualified fifth alongside Ford star Mark Winterbottom.

Saturday's 70-lap, 200km race starts at 4.05pm AEST.



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