Scott McLaughlin’s stranglehold on the Beaurepaires Melbourne 400 was challenged by Chaz Mostert in the dying stages of Friday’s Supercars qualifying action.
Supercars Championship leader McLaughlin was fastest in Race 1 and 2 qualifying sessions on Thursday and the Kiwi – who won both races at the Superloop Adelaide 500 earlier this month – continued his dominance by topping the timesheets in Race 3 qualifying.
But Mostert made a late charge in Race 4’s qualifying session, the Supercheap Auto Racing driver pipping McLaughlin by 0.0872 seconds.
The result ended McLaughlin’s run of five successive poles in 2019 and is Mostert’s first pole since 2017.
Reigning champion McLaughlin set the standard in Race 3 qualifying, with Monster Energy Racing’s Cameron Waters next best.
Freightliner Racing’s Tim Slade made a surge in the dying stages to finish third fastest and will be joined by teammate Nick Percat on the second row of the grid for Race 3.
Shell V-Power Racing’s McLaughlin looked set for a clean sweep of poles at the Albert Park Grand Prix Circuit after going to the lead in Race 4 qualifying but Mostert, battling the flu, had the last laugh.
Behind Mostert and McLaughlin on the second row of the grid for Race 4 will be Red Bull Holden Racing’s Jamie Whincup and Waters.
“I just haven’t been very consistent this weekend,” Mostert told Fox Sports in the aftermath.
Another driver struggling for consistency is Red Bull Holden Racing’s Shane van Gisbergen, who was fifth fastest in qualifying for Race 4.
Van Gisbergen will also start fifth in Race 1, but will begin in 11th in Race 2 and 13th in Race 3.
Race 1 of the Beaurepaires Melbourne 400 event begins at 5.55pm on Friday, with Race 2 and 3 to take place on Saturday.