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SVG sensational in Castrol TRS qualifying

Shane van Gisbergen waited until the dying seconds of qualifying, but put in a sensational final effort to take fastest time in the opening qualifying session for the New Zealand Grand Prix weekend.

The Giz’s superb lap of 1 minute 30.231 puts him on pole position for Sunday’s morning race on Grand Prix day. Pole position for the first race on Saturday goes to Friday pace setter Chris van der Drift who’s second fastest time was quicker than the Bathurst 1000 champion’s. A second qualifying session on Sunday morning will decide the grid order for the Grand Prix itself.

Friday pacesetter Chris van der Drift had set the pace throughout the session and looked set for pole position after a series of superfast laps, but van Gisbergen fired in a sensational final sector on his last qualifying lap – after matching the session bests in the first two sectors of the 4km Hampton Downs lap – to take the fastest overall time by six one hundredths of a second.

“It was pretty awesome,’ he said. “ I’ve been chipping away all weekend working so it’s great to be there.”

With van der Drift second overall a sensational third went to young Matthew Payne, the 18 year old former kart racer enjoying a spectacular start to his single seater career. Payne will start from third on the grid in both the first race and the second race.

“There’s no pressure on me and I’m just doing the best I can. It’s amazing. It’s been challenging for me at least getting used to the car and driving on the limit but I seem to be getting the hang of it.”

Another rookie in his first TRS season, Kaleb Ngatoa, was on the pace throughout the qualifying session and will start both races from fourth on the grid. Brendon Leitch’s best two laps will put him fifth on the grid for both races. Peter Vodanovich, the reigning Best Bars Toyota 86 champion, also impressed with two laps that secured seventh on the grid for both of the first two races.

Four time Bathurst winner Greg Murphy will start 11th for Race 1 and 12th for Sunday morning’s second race. Kelly Racing V8 Supercar driver Andre Heimgartner will start ninth in both.

66th New Zealand Grand Prix – Race 1 grid

1. Chris van der Drift
2. Shane van Gisbergen
3. Matthew Payne
4. Kaleb Ngatoa
5. Brendon Leitch
6. Peter Vodanovich
7. Daniel Gaunt
8. Billy Frazer
9. André Heimgartner
10. Tom Alexander
11. Greg Murphy
12. Conrad Clark
13. Joshua Bethune
14. Damon Leitch
15. Chris Vlok
16. Ken Smith

66th New Zealand Grand Prix – Race 2 grid

1. Shane van Gisbergen
2. Chris van der Drift
3. Matthew Payne
4. Kaleb Ngatoa
5. Brendon Leitch
6. Billy Frazer
7. Peter Vodanovich
8. Daniel Gaunt
9. André Heimgartner
10. Conrad Clark
11. Tom Alexander
12. Greg Murphy
13. Damon Leitch
14. Joshua Bethune
15. Chris Vlok
16. Ken Smith

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