SCOTT McLaughlin had claimed 30 career Supercar pole positions before Saturday, but winning the top 10 shootout at Mount Panorama eclipsed all of those.
After the DJR Team Penske star clocked a 2:03.8312 lap – the quickest ever seen by a Supercars driver at the Mount – he wiped tears from his eyes.
“I knew we could do that when I saw the times .. I’m over the moon,” McLaughlin said.
“That was the most incredible moment of my life.
“Thank you so much, oh my God. I dreamt of doing this since I was a kid.
While McLaughlin was the fastest man in Friday qualifying, had claimed 13 prior pole positions this season and was chasing his 18th consecutive front row start, his shootout effort still amazed.
Moments earlier as second-last man out, Erebus’ David Reynolds had clocked what he joking called “lap of the mountain goat” – a 2:04.2746 – to put the pressure on McLaughlin.
He responded by being 0.009 seconds faster through sector one and even after dropping two wheels into the dirt at McPhillamy, he held a 0.328 advantage after sector two.
From there he went on to claim pole at Mount Panorama for the first time in his career, having averaged 181km/hr.
“I am going to enjoy it. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity. I have worked a long time to get to this point and am very grateful for the opportunity with Shell V-Power Racing,” McLaughlin said.
“Ludo (engineer Ludo Lacroix) has made me thorough with what I do and my work ethic off the track to make me faster. I can’t thank them enough.”
Reynolds joined him on the front row, with Prodrive team-mates Mark Winterbottom (2:04.4988) and Chaz Mostert (2:04.5875) behind them.
Shane van Gisbergen (2:04.6688) was fifth while Sandown winner Cam Waters (2:04.6802) ranked sixth in his first shootout appearance.
Fabian Coulthard (2:04.9693), Jason Bright (2:05.2277), Garth Tander (2:05.3261) and James Courtney (2:05.4890) rounded out the 10.