Mark Winterbottom gave his slim V8 Supercars title hopes a boost by beating championship leader Jamie Whincup to pole position at Winton.
The FPR Ford man jumped to the top of the timesheets for the first time with nine minutes of qualifying remaining, setting a 1m23.1443s that would ultimately prove unmatched. It was far from comfortable, however, with the field all pitting for fresh rubber in the final minutes.
On his last lap Whincup, victorious in all three races last time out on the Yas Marina circuit, managed to better Winterbottom's benchmark in the opening sector, only to lose time across the rest of the lap. He ended the session 15 hundredths of a second shy of pole, although he did at least have the comfort of securing a front row berth.
Brad Jones Holden's Jason Bright will start one spot further back in third, after a blazing final lap earned him a fourth top-three grid slot of the season. It also moved him ahead of Stone Brothers Ford man Shane van Gisbergen, who had been fastest at the midway point.
James Moffat (Dick Johnson Ford) finished fifth ahead of Lee Holdsworth, Fabian Coulthard and James Courtney.
As Winterbottom and Whincup locked up the front row, their respective teammates Will Davison and Craig Lowndes struggled. Fourth and third in the championship, the pair fell as other made late improvements and eventually found themselves demoted to a share of the eighth row, Lowndes starting one spot ahead of Davison in 15th.