Matt Campbell has become just the second driver in Porsche Carrera Cup Australia history to score five straight TAG Heuer Pole Positions, topping the times in Friday’s qualifying session at Sandown along with the best TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge driver, Tony Bates.
For the first time in his short racing career, Campbell will compete in both Carrera Cup and the Supercars Championship, though the heavy workload didn’t interfere with his qualifying form, becoming the first driver since Jim Richards in 2003 to claim five consecutive pole positions.
“It’s very nice to achieve five straight pole positions, but it’s the race wins we’re going after. Now I’m going focus on tomorrow for the opening race,” said Campbell, who was an incredible 0.64 seconds ahead of second placed Nick McBride.
“I’m feeling really comfortable on the green tyre, which has allowed me to perform strong in qualifying this season, while the team has given me a fantastic car all year.
“As important as Supercars is this weekend, Carrera Cup is just as important because I’m going for the championship. Points are critical at the moment; the championship is only just starting; I had a fantastic round in Sydney but now it’s all about getting a good lead entering the final two events.”
Campbell is now just one TAG Heuer Pole Position away from Jim Richards’ record of six consecutive pole positions, all gained in his title winning 2003 season.
McBride will start race one alongside Campbell in second from Steven Richards and Michael Almond who, with fourth, gained a personal best qualifying result.
Double duty drivers Ash Walsh and David Wall qualified fifth and sixth, ahead of Alex Davison, Dean Fiore, Duvashen Padayachee, Dylan O’Keeffe and Garth Walden in 11th.
Tony Bates was the best of the TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge drivers in qualifying, taking his third straight pole position at the venue.
“I do like racing at Sandown; in fact the final three rounds were good for me last season and hopefully it will be the same this year,” said Bates, who scored a clean sweep of race wins in class at last season’s Sandown round.
“Like last year it was a frustrating middle of the season and it has been a while since I’ve been on pole position, so it’s good to show the pace we have so far this round.”
Bates qualified ahead of James Abela and fellow Challenge class drivers Shane Smollen, James Bergmuller, Stephen Grove, Marc Cini and Adrian Mastronardo.
Porsche Carrera Cup Australia will hold two races on Saturday, both of which will be broadcast on Fox Sports 5 and Network Ten (see below Broadcast Schedule), while five Carrera Cup stars will also compete in the co-driver Supercars qualifying race tomorrow afternoon.
Double Duty: Porsche Carrera Cup Australia/Supercars Championship
#7 carsales Racing – Todd Kelly/Matt Campbell
#14 Freightliner Racing – Tim Slade/Ash Walsh
#23 Nissan Motorsport – Michael Caruso/Dean Fiore
#33 Wilson Security Racing GRM – Scott McLaughlin/David Wall
#888 TeamVortex – Craig Lowndes/Steven Richards
Saturday September 17, 2016
10:45am Race 1 (17 laps)
3:10pm Race 2 (17 laps)
Sunday September 18, 2016
12:05pm Race 3 (21 laps)
Fox Sports 5
Race 1 – 10:45am, Saturday September 17
Race 2 – 3:10pm, Saturday September 17
Race 3 – 12:05pm, Sunday September 18
Race 1 – 12:40pm (delayed), Saturday September 17
Race 2 – 3:25pm (delayed), Saturday September 17
1. #7 Matt Campbell (Outright) Nuveau Constructions / Phase 8 – 1:09.6782R
2. #77 Nick McBride (Outright) Bob Jane T-Marts – 1:10.3250s
3. #12 Steven Richards (Outright) Laser Plumbing and Electrical – 1:10.4751s
4. #26 Michael Almond (Outright) Copyworld – 1:10.4827s
5. #777 Ash Walsh (Outright) Bob Jane T-Marts/Infants Friend – 1:10.5265s
6. #38 David Wall (Outright) Wilson Security – 1:10.5424s
7. #25 Alex Davison (Outright) Wilson Parking – 1:10.6556s
8. #8 Dean Fiore (Outright) Saint/Porsche Centre Melbourne – 1:10.7865s
9. #45 Duvashen Padayachee (Outright) Darrell Lea STIX–1:10.8339s
10. #88 Dylan O’Keeffe (Outright) All Star Equipment Sales/APB Group – 1:10.9046s
11. #21 Garth Walden (Outright) Commercial Interior Projects – 1:10.9498s
12. #24 Tony Bates (TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge) Moveitnet/A.F.S – 1:11.2235s
13. #54 James Abela (Outright) Horsley Park Gun Shop – 1:11.2694s
14. #56 Shane Smollen (TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge) McGrath Estate Agents – 1:11.4272s
15. #13 James Bergmuller (TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge) pricepressure.com.au – 1:11.7008s
16. #4 Stephen Grove (TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge) Grove Hire – 1:11.7846s
17. #9 Marc Cini (TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge) Hallmarc – 1:12.6092s
18. #39 Adrian Mastronardo (TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge) Veritas Property Group – 1:12.7890s