Former Socceroo, Brett Emerton cruised to pole position for the first race of the Mazda3 Celebrity Challenge at the 2014 Formula 1® Rolex Australian Grand Prix.
Emerton edged out Australian cycling legend and race favourite, Robbie McEwen in an electrifying qualifying session today at the Albert Park street circuit. Travel adventurer and UK Television personality Charley Boorman qualified a close third.
Emerton said he was extremely happy with the result and was looking forward to the first race tomorrow.
“Pole position feels good, now I just need to try and shut out Robbie (McEwen) because I'm sure he will be hot on my heels,” Emerton said.
“The more you drive around the track the more you get to know it and the faster your lap times. It was a lot of fun out there, and I'm looking forward to tomorrow.”
Emerton, McEwen and Network Ten personality, Sam Mac, had traded places throughout the session, with all three spending time in front before Mac off the pace leaving Emerton and McEwen to battle it out for the number one spot.
McEwen, who was tipped as the favourite earlier in the week, said second place was nothing to scoff at but that Brett would prove tough to beat.
“A front row starting place is great but you'd rather be right up front as it easier to defend on this circuit rather than pass, and Brett Emerton is a natural born defender,” McEwen said.
“It's very hard to pass without making mistakes so let’s see if I can put a bit of pressure on him. I’d like to win the race but I need to try and get off the mark well and maintain position into turn one tomorrow, and then drive clean and fast.”
The leading female in qualifying was Olympic Bronze Medallist, Lydia Lassila, who finished in 6th place just ahead of fellow winter Olympian Torah Bright and model Rachael Finch who finished in 8th and 9th respectively.
Comedian and Melbourne Radio Personality Tommy Little showed his true racing form in qualifying today, finishing his first session time at Albert Park unscathed and with no car damage following two heavy crashes in his two practice sessions.
The Mazda3 Celebrity Challenge continues tomorrow with the first race of the weekend.
- 1 Brett Emerton
- 2 Robbie McEwen
- 3 Charley Boorman
- 4 Rob Mills
- 5 Tim Robards
- 6 Lydia Lassila
- 7 Tommy Little
- 8 Torah Bright
- 9 Rachael Finch
- 10 Clint Stanaway
- 11 Scherri-Lee Biggs
- 12 Lauren Phillips
- 13 Sam Mac
- 14 Dave Thornton
- 15 Megan Washington
- 16 Catriona Rowntree
- 17 Maz Compton
- 18 Adam D’Sylva
- Nathan Brown