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Rick Kelly grabs Supercars pole in Darwin

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 17/06/2017 Matt Coughlan

Rick Kelly has boosted Nissan's hopes of more Supercars success in Darwin, grabbing pole position for Saturday's race.

Kelly's ninth career pole - and first for two years - ends DJR Team Penske's recent dominance in qualifying.

It comes one year after teammate Michael Caruso broke the manufacturer's three-year winning drought at the Hidden Valley Raceway event.

Kelly said he was delighted to grab pole after a nervous moment on his decisive second qualifying lap.

"I took the kerb and I thought I blew it there, so to be first is obviously a credit to the guys with that car," Kelly said.

"We've just got to put our head down now and make sure it's pretty similar for the race."

Kelly's last pole was at the same track in 2015.

"It definitely really suits us with that new surface," he said.

"The long straight still hurts us but overall it's a very strong track for us.

"It's a long race, 42 laps, and we've just got to make the tyres stay on as best we can and see what we can do from there."

Kelly's qualifying time of 1min 5.7114sec couldn't better Ford star Scott McLaughlin's new track record of 1:05.5635 set during the final practice session earlier in the day in cooler conditions.

McLaughlin will start second on the grid after pipping Penske teammate and championship leader Fabian Coulthard by 0.005s.

Erebus driver David Reynolds will be alongside Coulthard on the second line, while a late charge from defending series champion Shane Van Gisbergen has pushed him into the top five.

Coulthard said he wasn't disappointed with his position.

"The sort of times that Scotty did this morning, they were blistering," he said.

"We always knew we weren't going to be able to match that and look, we didn't go too far off.

"To have two and three is not all bad."

Brad Jones Racing's Nick Percat and Tim Slade qualified sixth and eighth fastest respectively, with Ford's Chaz Mostert between them.

Van Gisbergen's Red Bull Racing teammate Jamie Whincup will start ninth with Prodrive Racing Australia's Cameron Waters rounding out the top 10.

Saturday's 120km race starts at 1615 local time (1645 AEST).

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