Ford’s Fabian Coulthard has answered his critics by claiming pole position for the Supercars season-opening race in Adelaide.
Under pressure to keep his seat at DJR Team Penske, Coulthard clocked one minute, 19.89 seconds on Saturday to be fastest in the top-10 shootout.
He was the only driver to crack the 1min:20sec barrier in the final leg of qualifying, finishing an impressive 0.36 of a second ahead of Holden’s seven-time series champ Jamie Whincup.
Coulthard’s teammate, defending series champion Scott McLaughlin, was third quickest.
Coulthard is already feeling the pinch before a race has been run. He had a disappointing ninth placing in the 2018 drivers’ standings, well back from his teammate who claimed his maiden championship.
There is already speculation that Ford’s former Bathurst winner Chaz Mostert will replace Coulthard next year at DJR Team Penske.
But Coulthard did his best to silence the cynics by claiming his first pole position in more than a year.
He failed to gain a pole in 2018.
It was also an ideal start for Mustang which replaced Falcons this season in all six of Ford’s teams.
It is the first time the Mustang has been on the grid since 1990.
“It’s been a real effort to get the Mustang on the grid,” Coulthard said.
“To get the first pole for Mustang is pretty special.
“And this is awesome for my confidence.”
Whincup admitted Holden were already playing catch-up to Mustang ahead of the season-opening 78-lap race starting at 5:15pm (AEDT).
“We will keep working away. It might take us three to four rounds but we will get there,” Whincup said.
Whincup’s teammate Shane van Gisbergen will need to dig deep to create history on the tough street circuit.
The Red Bull Racing star is aiming to become the first driver to win five-straight races in Adelaide.
However, he failed to claim his fifth-consecutive pole and was relegated to fifth on the grid after the shootout.
Meanwhile, Holden rookie Macauley Jones is not expected to take his place in the 24-strong grid for race one after crashing out of Saturday’s practice due to brake failure.
Emerging unscathed, it remains to be seen whether his heavily damaged Brad Jones Racing Commodore features this weekend.