V8 Supercars veteran Craig Lowndes is ideally placed to close the gap on the series lead after securing his second pole position at the Perth 400 at Barbagallo Raceway.
The 39-year-old posted the fastest time of qualifying this morning in the final minute of the 20-minute session, with a lap of 55.227sec enough to springboard him to the top of the timesheets.
The strong performance comes after winning the second race of the Perth round yesterday, with Lowndes strengthening his grip on second spot in the standings and widening the gap back to teammate Jamie Whincup in fifth.
Series leader Mark Winterbottom was second fastest in qualifying to keep the heat on Lowndes, who he leads by 110 points in the championship.
Rising star Scott McLaughlin had earlier appeared set to claim his fifth pole position of this year’s championship after holding the fastest time for much of the session’s second half.
The Volvo driver had a late chance to better Lowndes after posting the fastest first sector on his final lap, but his pace dropped away to finish third in qualifying with a time one-and-a-half tenths of a second slower than his Red Bull Racing rival.
Ford Performance Racing’s Chaz Mostert and Holden driver James Courtney will round out the top five on the grid.
Whincup could manage no more than sixth in qualifying, with Fabian Coulthard seventh.
WA racer Garth Tander qualified 17th as the 2007 V8 Supercars champion continued to lack the pace needed for a top-10 position on the grid.