WILL Brown has gone some way towards making his Tailem Bend nightmare a distant memory with a stunning performance to secure pole position for the Sandown 500.
Brown dropped to 258 points behind championship-leading teammate Brodie Kostecki after a rough run at The Bend, but has now put himself in the box seat to start the endurance season with a bang.
With most co-drivers tipped to be starting tomorrow’s race, that could see Jack Perkins line up from pole position.
Grove Racing young gun Matt Payne kicked the Top 10 Shootout off with an excellent banker of 1:09.1005s.
How that would stack up against the nine runners was a matter of intrigue, with uncertainty around how much quicker the track was in the cooler conditions.
His first challenger, Jack Le Brocq, was three tenths off despite a decent middle sector.
Cam Waters then jumped to the top on a 1:08.9781s, and that would prove tough to beat.
Will Davison came close, 0.023s adrift while Todd Hazelwood set two purple sectors before losing time in the final sector.
David Reynolds and Thomas Randle slotted in between Payne and Le Brocq, the Castrol Mustang driver having survived a major lock-up into Turn 1.
With Broc Feeney left disappointed after coming up short, Waters and Davison continued to hold the provisional front-row with only the Erebus Camaros still to run.
Brown proceeded to throw down the gauntlet, punching out the fastest times in all three sectors to eclipse Waters to the tune of 0.3088s.
That turned up the pressure on qualifying fast man Kostecki, and the #99 driver could do no better than second, at 0.1862s back from Brown.
Nevertheless, it will be an Erebus front-row lockout.
Behind them, it’s Waters, Davison, Feeney, Hazelwood, Payne, Reynolds, Randle and Le Brocq.
There’ll be plenty of big names starting further back in the pack, Chaz Mostert and Shane van Gisbergen having qualified just 16th and 19th respectively.
The 161-lap race will start at 2:15pm AEST tomorrow. Before then will be a 20-minute warm-up from 10:10am.
RESULTS: Top 10 Shootout, 2023 Sandown 500
|Jack Le Brocq
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