RYAN WOOD has sensationally stolen pole position for round 2 of the Porsche Michelin Sprint Challenge Australia Series, a one-lap flyer at the end of the session enough to put the young Kiwi on top at Queensland Raceway.
A late red flag in the 20-minute qualifying session – held in near-night conditions at the Ipswich circuit – set up a one-lap dash to decide the top spot with Thomas Sargent holding sway by less than 0.1 seconds as cars returned to the track.
While Sargent, who finished second in the opening round of the series in Sydney, was unable to improve, Round 1 winner Wood did and turned an 0.03s deficit into a 0.06s advantage to secure back-to-back pole positions.
Sargent will start race one from second on the grid alongside the young Kiwi star, as he did at Round 1, having not been able to improve on his final flying lap.
Lachlan Bloxom qualified third, just 0.3 seconds behind the duelling pair on the front row, while Sam Shahin was fourth outright and first of the Morris Pro-Am runners.
Madeline Stewart qualified fifth in a personal-best effort from the Gold Coast-based New Zealander while Brett Boulton was sixth and second in Morris Pro-Am.
The top-10 was completed by Jason Miller, Aaron Shields, Tom Taplin – who has shifted into the Pro class commencing at this weekend’s Queensland round – and newcomer Brad Carr.
Missing out on the first five rows was Sonic Racing’s Courtney Prince. After finishing on the podium in the opening round in Sydney, Prince qualified 12th in Queensland, with Harrison Goodman in between the Victorian driver and a spot in the Top-10.
Carr, an experienced Production Car competitor, is making his debut in Michelin Sprint Challenge competition this weekend and as well as qualifying 10th outright, topped the Class B leaderboard for previous-generation cars as well.
Fellow rookie Tom McLennan was second in class and 15th outright on his series’ debut.
Earlier in the day, Thomas Sargent topped the leaderboard across a pair of practice sessions, his 1m10.4880s flyer well beneath the existing Queensland Raceway lap record for the category.
Lachlan Bloxom and Courtney Prince were next, with Round 1 winner Ryan Wood fourth.
Brett Boulton was quckest in Morris Pro-Am ahead of Sam Shahin, while newcomer Tom McLennan topped Class B.
The Porsche Michelin Sprint Challenge Australia field returns for two races tomorrow, both to be broadcast live on Stan Sports.
Race 1 ( 14 Laps ) commences at 11:15am while Race 2 – another sprint – starts at 2:10pm.
The 40-minute Jim Richards’ Enduro Trophy race concludes the weekend on Sunday morning.
Ryan Wood, Fastest Pro
“Yes, it was pretty stressful there with the rain coming down, but the boys made the right call to put me straight through into the pit lane, so kudos to them. Because then I had a clear track to punch on and get that fast lap. Tom’s been the quickest car all day, so overnight we should just have a look at the data and myself, as I’ve struggled a bit earlier today.”
Sam Shahin, Morris Pro-Am
“It has been a tricky day acclimatising again to the 991 GT3 Cup car, it really does behave differntly and it makes its speed in very different places and parts of the corner to the 992. The qualifying lap was a good one, it was just getting greasy with the light rain falling, it’s a shame that the red flag came right on my money lap. I chose not to go out again, which was a little risky, but I wanted to save the tyre and live to fight another day.”
Bradley Carr, Class B
“Pretty happy with the lap we were sitting it out there with the Michelin wets ready to go, there were a few spots on the windshield. But I got out there and got held up on my first flyer which is a bit of a shame. Our game plan was to be on it straight away, so only had one go at it and had to come in and went out for another go. But by then it was a bit wet out there, so we came in and parked it. But all in all, it ended up a pretty good lap in the end.”