Anton De Pasquale has revealed an error of judgement caused him to qualify outside the top 10 for the first time as a Shell V-Power Racing Team driver.
The Saturday pole-sitter at the WD-40 Townsville SuperSprint was just 14th in opening qualifying today, marking his worst one-lap result of the season.
The drop was not a result of a driver mistake nor a step backwards in set-up but rather the fact he did not make it to the chequered flag in time to begin his planned fast lap.
That made for a rapidly evolving track surface, with times improving the longer the session to determine the grid for Race 18 wore on.
“We just didn't handle the session too well,” said De Pasquale, who is on a three-race podium streak.
“We planned for two laps and then didn't get a second lap, missed the flag by a couple of seconds.
“The first lap was just sort of preparing so yeah, we'll learn from that one… there's nothing wrong with the car or anything, just didn't get a lap in.
“The track was getting better and better so we thought we'd try to go as late as possible, but missed the flag, just slow out lap and then I didn't know we were that tight so I was just doing my thing.”
Qualifying for Race 19 went much smoother for the #11 Mustang driver, securing third on the grid.
Asked if an undercut strategy was on the cards, akin to what Tim Slade and the Blanchard Racing Team successfully executed yesterday, De Pasquale was non-committal.
“We'll see how the first few laps go. From 14th anything can happen,” he said.
“Obviously it worked for them guys but everyone knows it worked for them, so if one person pitted in front of him it ruins the race.
“You have got to get quite lucky when things like that happen, you have got to make sure no one pits with you… these guys will work it out and I'll try to hang onto the thing.”
Jamie Whincup will start from pole for Race 18 (12:45 AEST), with Cameron Waters qualifying fastest for Race 19 (15:40 AEST).