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Coulthard breaks through for maiden pole

Fabian Coulthard has given his V8 Supercar career a real shot in the arm by qualifying on pole position in the MSS Security V8 Supercars Challenge at the 2013 Formula 1 Rolex Australian Grand Prix.

The 31-year-old New Zealander – the second cousin of former F1 driver David Coulthard – was the only driver to eclipse Craig Lowndes’ V8 Supercar lap record around Albert Park in the 30-minute qualifying session, and he did so with 0.3491 seconds to spare over Brad Jones Racing team-mate Jason Bright, both steering Holden Commodore VFs.

“Track conditions were perfect today, and I had a really clean run throughout the session,” said Coulthard. “I didn’t really come across any other cars, and I am delighted with pole position.”

However, Bright won’t sit beside Coulthard on the front row for tomorrow’s opening 12-lap race at 11:00am, as the 40-year-old Victorian was pinged two grid positions for failing to head straight to the pits after an earlier practice session, citing an inability to see the chequered flag.

“It would have been great to see two Brad Jones Racing cars on the front row, but now we’ll have to wait for (the next round in) Tasmania to see that,” Bright joked.

Bright’s sanction elevated another New Zealander, Shane Van Gisbergen (Commodore VF) onto the front row of the grid, with Bright to start alongside Lowndes (Commodore VF) on the second row.

Van Gisbergen was a race winner at Albert Park in 2012, with Mark Winterbottom claiming the chequered flag in the other two outings.

Meanwhile, the Nissan Altimas of Michael Caruso and Todd Kelly qualified in 12th and 13th respectively, with the Mercedes E63 AMG of Tim Slade in 14th. Both cars have joined the V8 Supercars scene in 2013 under the fledgling Car of the Future regulations.

Reigning V8 Supercar champion Jamie Whincup (Commodore VF) qualified in fifth, while Winterbottom rounded out the top 10 in his Ford Falcon FG – the third Blue Oval car on the grid behind David Reynolds and Will Davison.

Four MSS Security V8 Supercars Challenge races will be held over the next three days: two on Friday and one apiece on Saturday and Sunday. Pit stops will be compulsory in all four races for the 28 drivers.

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