Whincup starts title defense with qualifying crash in Adelaide

Whincup's car comes back on the flatbed
Whincup's car comes back on the flatbed

The 2018 Virgin Australia Supercars Championship has started in spectacular fashion with defending champion Jamie Whincup crashing out of qualifying at the Adelaide 500 today.

Whincup's teammate Shane van Gisbergen's run of strong results in Adelaide continued when he recorded the quickest time in qualifying, while Whincup's crew has some major repair work ahead of them this evening to get his car ready for the opening race of the year tomorrow.

Whincup's left-front tire was pulled off his brand new Holden ZB Commodore in the final lap of this afternoon's qualifying session and bounced down the Adelaide street circuit while the seven-time champion somehow managed to avoid further damage at high-speed.

Whincup's incident brought out a red flag which meant other drivers gunning for a spot in tomorrow morning's ARMOR ALL Top 10 Shootout weren't able to finish their lap as planned.

“I was up, I was pushing hard. The car wasn't that flash through Turn 8. I put it on the line, made a mistake, ran wide, bang," Whincup told Supercars.com.

“It was a big impact. It's all violent stuff. It slammed in hard. The thing just folds around you, and then the wheel flies off.

“It's tough, but that's the game we play. That's motorsport. There are 25 other people strapped into these things and if you make a little mistake, that's the consequences."

Scott McLaughlin is a close 2nd
Scott McLaughlin is a close 2nd

That meant defending Adelaide 500 champion Shane van Gisbergen will head into the Shootout as the quickest driver, ahead of Shell V-Power ace Scott McLaughlin and former Supercars Champion, James Courtney, who was third quickest.

“It wasn’t nice to come around and see wheels flying everywhere," van Gisbergen said of the end to the session.

“Jamie is OK, that’s the main thing, and hopefully the car can be fixed for tomorrow. It should be.

Whincup did record the quickest time of the day in this morning's opening practice, while close rival McLaughlin was quickest in practice two.

His crash was the third of the day at the notorious Turn 8, following Sandown 500 winner Cam Waters and rookie Jack Le Brocq coming unstuck at the same spot earlier in the day.

Mark Winterbottom, Bathurst champion David Reynolds, Nick Percat, Whincup, Will Davison, Lee Holdsworth and Rick Kelly will contest the Armor All Top 10 Shootout at 12:25pm AEDT to determine just who will claim the first Pole Position of 2018 for tomorrow afternoon's 250km race around Adelaide.

The race will run from 3:50pm AEDT tomorrow afternoon in front of what is tipped to be a huge crowd in Adelaide after an estimated 63,500 attended today.

Qualifying Race 1 Results

1 97 Van Gisbergen Red Bull Holden Racing Australia 1:20.247 +0.000s 8
2 17 McLaughlin Shell V-Power Racing Team 1:20.248 +0.001 9
3 25 Courtney Mobil 1 HSV Racing 1:20.254 +0.007 11
4 5 Winterbottom The Bottle-O Racing Team 1:20.297 +0.050 12
5 9 Reynolds Erebus Motorsport 1:20.420 +0.173 10
6 8 Percat Brad Jones Racing 1:20.452 +0.206 9
7 230 Davison Milwaukee Racing 1:20.488 +0.242 12
8 18 Holdsworth Preston Hire Racing 1:20.491 +0.244 12
9 1 Whincup Red Bull Holden Racing Australia 1:20.511 +0.264 7
10 15 R. Kelly Nissan Motorsport 1:20.518 +0.271 12
11 7 Heimgartner Nissan Motorsport 1:20.560 +0.314 11
12 55 Mostert Supercheap Auto Racing 1:20.594 +0.347 9
13 2 S. Pye Mobil 1 HSV Racing 1:20.657 +0.410 8
14 14 Slade Brad Jones Racing 1:20.733 +0.486 9
15 888 Lowndes Team Vortex 1:20.733 +0.486 8
16 56 R. Stanaway Tickford Racing 1:20.802 +0.555 12
17 33 Tander Wilson Security Racing GRM 1:20.809 +0.563 9
18 12 Coulthard Shell V-Power Racing Team 1:20.853 +0.607 9
19 6 C. Waters Monster Energy Racing 1:20.887 +0.641 5
20 23 Caruso Nissan Nismo 1:20.910 +0.663 9
21 99 A. de Pasquale Erebus Motorsport 1:21.134 +0.888 11
22 21 Blanchard CoolDrive Racing 1:21.145 +0.898 10
23 78 S. De Silvestro Nissan Nismo 1:21.258 +1.011 12
24 35 T. Hazelwood Bigmate Racing 1:21.507 +1.260 11
25 34 J. Golding Wilson Security Racing GRM 1:21.753 +1.506 8
26 19 J. Le Brocq TEKNO Woodstock Racing 1:22.817 +2.570 5

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