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Payne, Mostert score Ford pole double

SATURDAY’S Supercars action at Albert Park has begun with a Ford fightback.

Mustang drivers Matt Payne, Chaz Mostert and Cam Waters took out the top three places in both 15-minute qualifying sessions that set the grids for the Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning sprints.

Payne scored a maiden career pole in the first session before Mostert pipped the Kiwi in the second, both benefitting from two runs having saved a set of tyres on Thursday.

The results marked the first qualifying trifectas for Ford during the Gen3 era that began in 2023.

Qualifying Race 3

Payne’s maiden pole came in thrilling circumstances at the end of the first 15-minute hitout.

A light shower of rain pre-session added to the unknowns, but was not enough to stop rapid lap speed from the outset in the cool and overcast conditions.

Jack Le Brocq headed the field on 1:46.9351s over Payne leading into the crucial final minutes before the seemingly inevitable Triple Eight onslaught took hold.

Will Brown’s first flying lap of the session reset the benchmark to 1:46.8726s before Broc Feeney went marginally faster, temporarily setting up a Triple Eight front-row lockout.

However, the trio of Ford stars had other ideas – Mostert flashing to the top with just seconds left on the clock, before being bested by Waters as the chequered flag fell.

Payne though went quicker still, utilising his second tyre set to record a 1:46.6541s that proved just 0.0073s clear of Waters but good enough for P1.

“It’s obviously huge for me, my first pole, and for the team it’s fantastic for us to get this result,” said Payne.

“I kind of got lucky because I was able to use two sets (of tyres) to give me a bit of a jump on that second lap.”

Feeney hung onto fourth behind the three Mustangs, while Le Brocq improved late to knock Brown back to sixth.

David Reynolds, Tim Slade, Richie Stanaway and Thomas Randle rounded out the top 10.

Anton De Pasquale managed 12th despite an early clout of the wall at Turn 8, while Dick Johnson Racing teammate Will Davison was a disappointing 20th.

Also down the order was Friday hero Mark Winterbottom, who managed just 17th, and Matt Stone Racing’s Nick Percat in 18th.

Qualifying Race 4

Chaz Mostert during the second Saturday qualifying session at Albert Park. Pic: Ross Gibb

Percat set the early pace in the second session before Mostert went to the top with a 1:46.4835s at the halfway mark.

Inside the final five minutes, Payne again fired a major shot to go 0.0500s clear of Mostert and into P1.

The odds of a Payne pole double shortened when Triple Eight pair Feeney and Brown slotted into just fifth and eighth as the session wound down.

Waters then went third behind Payne and Mostert, missing the top spot by 0.0764s, before Mostert returned on his second set of tyres to clip 0.1108s from the Grove Mustang’s best.

“The Optus rocket definitely came firing out today,” said Mostert of scoring the Boost Mobile Pole Award.

“Track conditions suited us a bit, we worked a little bit on the car, how we maximise our qualifying car.

“To go third and then first is a big sigh of relief that this old codger can still pump out a lap time!”

Percat’s early lap still proved good enough for fourth ahead of Bryce Fullwood, Feeney, De Pasquale, Davison, Brown and Le Brocq.

Winterbottom again struggled down in 23rd, ahead only of Andre Heimgartner, who clobbered the outside wall at Turn 5 and did not set a representative time.

Race 3 of the weekend will take place from 5:35pm local time.

RESULTS: Qualifying for Race 3, 2024 MSS Security Melbourne SuperSprint

119Matt PayneGroveFord1m46.6541s
26Cam WatersTickfordFord+0.0073s
325Chaz MostertWAUFord+0.1101s
488Broc Feeney Triple EightChevrolet+0.1282s
59Jack Le BrocqErebusChevrolet+0.2095s
687Will BrownTriple EightChevrolet+0.2185s
720David ReynoldsTeam 18Chevrolet+0.2999s
823Tim SladePremiAirChevrolet+0.3326s
926Richie StanawayGroveFord+0.3627s
1055Thomas Randle TickfordFord+0.3919s
114Cameron Hill MSRChevrolet+0.4001s
1211Anton De PasqualeDJRFord+0.4066s
138Andre HeimgartnerBJRChevrolet+0.4616s
1499Todd HazelwoodErebusChevrolet+0.5054s
152Ryan Wood WAUFord+0.5189s
1631James Golding PremiAirChevrolet+0.5509s
1718Mark WinterbottomTeam 18Chevrolet+0.5585s
1810Nick PercatMSRChevrolet+0.5693s
197James CourtneyBRTFord+0.5737s
2017Will DavisonDJRFord+0.6839s
2114Bryce FullwoodBJRChevrolet+0.9452s
2212Jaxon Evans BJRChevrolet+1.1052s
233Aaron LoveBRTFord+1.2438s
2496Macauley JonesBJRChevrolet+1.3216s

RESULTS: Qualifying for Race 4, 2024 MSS Security Melbourne SuperSprint

125Chaz MostertWAUFord1m46.3227s
219Matt PayneGroveFord+0.1108s
36Cam WatersTickfordFord+0.1872s
410Nick PercatMSRChevrolet+0.3486s
514Bryce FullwoodBJRChevrolet+0.3985s
688Broc Feeney Triple EightChevrolet+0.5150s
711Anton De PasqualeDJRFord+0.5539s
817Will DavisonDJRFord+0.5552s
987Will BrownTriple EightChevrolet+0.5660s
109Jack Le BrocqErebusChevrolet+0.5748s
114Cameron Hill MSRChevrolet+0.6852s
1255Thomas Randle TickfordFord+0.7047s
1320David ReynoldsTeam 18Chevrolet+0.7516s
1426Richie StanawayGroveFord+0.8518s
1531James Golding PremiAirChevrolet+0.8793s
162Ryan Wood WAUFord+0.9582s
1723Tim SladePremiAirChevrolet+1.0081s
183Aaron LoveBRTFord+1.1334s
1999Todd HazelwoodErebusChevrolet+1.1861s
207James CourtneyBRTFord+1.232s
2196Macauley JonesBJRChevrolet+1.4521s
2212Jaxon Evans BJRChevrolet+1.7433s
2318Mark WinterbottomTeam 18Chevrolet+2.0727s
248Andre HeimgartnerBJRChevrolet+7.4768s
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