Rain cancels Pukekohe Qualifying, Waters on pole


Cameron Waters has scored pole position for Race 23 of the Supercars Championship after race control canceled Qualifying due to heavy rain.

Relentless rain lashed the venue all morning, causing a delay to the start of Qualifying which went on for over 15-minutes as officials waited to see if conditions would improve.

Eventually the green flag flew, but the treacherous conditions were bad enough to catch out drivers like Scott McLaughlin, Shane van Gisbergen and Chaz Mostert, with race director Tim Schenken calling a red flag after just four minutes.

Race control spent the next 30-minutes monitoring the conditions, but decided to cancel the session and set the grid on the combined Practice times from Friday.

This meant Waters inherited pole from Jamie Whincup (Red Bull Holden) and Mark Winterbottom (Prodrive).

Shell V-Power Racing’s McLaughlin will start from fourth ahead of Mostert (Prodrive) and van Gisbergen (Red Bull Holden).

According to drivers, the resurfaced back straight was causing the biggest problem.

“I did a lap at half throttle down the back straight … this is stupid’,” said van Gisbergen. “Then they red flagged it straight away.

“I don’t know, it’s crazy. The back straight is too new on the surface, it’s so shiny and slippery.

“I don’t want to be out there on that stuff, it’s a bit of a joke. I hope the rain eases and we can have a safe race even if it is wet, but that level is too much.”

Mobil 1 HSV Racing’s James Courtney described the back straight as ‘ice’, but also added visibility was a problem.

“The majority of the track isn’t too bad, it’s just the back straight where they’ve resurfaced it,” he said.

“I think they’ve resurfaced it with ice! Second gear and the thing is aquaplaning and out of control. It’s pretty hairy.

“There was a car going slow, and I didn’t even see it until the last second and nearly cleaned him up.

“It’s just that back section; you’re lucky to see the end of the bonnet.”

McLaughlin meanwhile thought the conditions were the worst he’s ever seen after a wild moment through Turn 1 took him across the grass.

“I had a bit of a moment into [Turn] 1 before,” said the DJR Team Penske star.

“I absolutely crapped myself. It’s pretty sketchy out there, that’s the worse I’ve ever been in a racecar.

“It’s full on, and then the spray is bad. We’re probably 26 whinging racecar drivers at the moment. We’re lucky to be doing what we’re doing, but when you go out there and you can hardly get full throttle anywhere, it’s pretty sketchy.”

Teams have limited stock of wet tyres, with only three sets of new wet weather tyres available for each car this weekend.

The race is scheduled to begin at 16:10 NZDT.