THE closest qualifying session in Porsche Michelin Sprint Challenge Australia series history has seen teenager Oscar Targett grab his first pole award of the year.
Targett, a Grove Racing junior driver and karting graduate, scored pole by a tiny margin of 0.0012 seconds as he bumped Nash Morris off the top spot late in Friday’s 20-minute session.
It’s the closest 1-2 qualifying margin in series history, and came in a session that also delivered the closest top three, top five and top 10 qualifying results in the history of the championship, as well as the quickest ever lap of Queensland Raceway in the process.
He’s the fourth different polesitter from four rounds this year, also a series record.
Targett’s 1m09.944s flyer displaced Morris for the top spot, the Queenslander having earlier set the first sub-70 second lap of his home circuit earlier in the session.
Morris had looked likely to hold on with his then-record lap and it took a late flyer from Targett on his second set of Michelin slick tyres to displace the Porsche newcomer, who continues to excel after a stunning debut in Sydney last time out.
The pair will share the front row for race one tomorrow with Marcos Flack and Lachlan Bloxsom on row two.
Flack had earlier topped both practice sessions by tiny margins and ultimately missed pole position by 0.0085 seconds – making it the closest top three in series history.
Lachlan Bloxsom was in the midst of that battle and was only fractions away from a spot on the front row. Aron Shields, who won last time out in Sydney, qualified fifth but only missed pole position by 0.087s.
Behind them, Ronan Murphy, Caleb Sumich – a personal best seventh – championship leader Marco Giltrap, Hamish Fitzsimmons and Pro-Am polesitter Ramu Farrell were all within 0.397s of the pole position time.
The top 14 cars were split by 0.6 seconds in a remarkable session that will likely stand as one of the series’ best for some time.
Newcomer Farrell grabbed the Pro-Am pole award on his series debut and qualified an outstanding 10th outright in the process.
The local driver is racing for home-town team McElrea Racing this weekend and made an instant impact, finishing the opening practice session inside the top three.
Pro-Am Championship leader Sam Shahin qualified 15th outright and second in the Pro-Am class, himself less than 0.9s away from Targett’s impressive pole lap.
Matt Slavin qualified third in Pro-Am with Richard Cowen just behind in fourth.
Defending class champion Lachy Harburg powered his The Cover Shop entry to pole in Class B, edging out Brad Carr by three-tenths to score a strong pole position.
They qualified 18th and 19th, respectively, in their older-generation 991 GT3 Cup Cars with Harburg just 1.5s away from outright pole.
The Porsche Michelin Sprint Challenge Australia field returns for two races sprint races on Saturday, both broadcast live on Stan Sport.
Porsche Paynter Dixon Carrera Cup Australia racer and former champion Fabian Coulthard will join the commentary team for the races tomorrow.