Supercars series leader Scott McLaughlin has set yet another lap record to claim pole position for Sunday’s Bathurst 1000 at Mount Panorama.
McLaughlin clocked two minutes, 03.37 seconds to top the timesheets for Saturday’s top-10 shootout ahead of fellow Ford drivers Chaz Mostert and Cam Waters.
The defending series champion’s blistering time on Saturday took 0.11 of a second off his own record mark set on Friday at Mount Panorama.
It marked the third time this week that McLaughlin had broken the lap record.
But an emotional McLaughlin seemed to have surprised himself with the scorching time that was 0.41 of a second faster than 2014 Bathurst champion Mostert.
“I am really proud of the team. Far out – this is just a rocket ship,” McLaughlin said.
“It just hooked up in those conditions. I am just pumped.
“Coming down the hill, I knew it was fast. I thought ‘gees this is good, I just have to hold on to it’.
“We’ve got one big one to get tomorrow which is what I am focusing on.”
It is a shot in the arm for McLaughlin, who is desperate to claim a maiden Bathurst title.
The New Zealander has adopted a “win it or bin it” approach at the mountain thanks to his 598-point championship lead over nearest rival, Holden’s Shane van Gisbergen.
The huge buffer means he can crash out in the next two rounds and still conceivably lead the series.
Four-time Bathurst winner Jamie Whincup finished fourth fastest, while van Gisbergen was fifth.
Seven-time series champion Whincup is still considered a favourite after teaming up with co-driver, seven-time Bathurst winner Craig Lowndes.
They reunite again after winning three-straight Bathurst titles from 2006.
McLaughlin might appear hard to beat but no pole sitter has claimed the Great Race since 2009.
There were no major incidents during the top 10-shootout held in overcast conditions, but the mountain did claim another scalp.
Peter Vodanovich emerged shaken but unscathed after suffering a horror rollover approaching The Chase in race two of the support category, the Toyota 86 Racing Series.