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Van Giz takes poles at Auckland Supercars

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 4/11/2016 Ben McKay

<span style="font-size:13px;">The two title-hunting Holdens of Shane van Gisbergen and Jamie Whincup will start from the front row in Saturday's races at Pukekohe Park.</span> © Getty Images The two title-hunting Holdens of Shane van Gisbergen and Jamie Whincup will start from the front row in Saturday's races at Pukekohe Park. Shane van Gisbergen has taken both pole positions on offer for Saturday's Supercars races at Pukekohe Park, laying down the gauntlet to Jamie Whincup.

Whincup, his Red Bull Racing teammate and chief title rival, will join the Aucklander on the front row of the grid for both 100km races, setting the stage for a sensational afternoon's racing at the regional New Zealand circuit.

Six-time champion Whincup is 148 points behind van Gisbergen, who is hunting his first Supercars crown.

The Red Bulls showed both their superior speed and the fantastic driving skills that have them on top of the pack during the two lightning qualifying sessions.

Van Gisbergen held on during a dramatic spin out on his second flying lap, stopping Whincup from lowering his time in the process.

And Whincup was forced off-road when he failed to negotiate the back chicane, but like his teammate, brought his Commodore under control and back onto the bitumen.

In the morning's first session, the gap between the pair was infinitesimal - with the Kiwi edging Whincup by just five thousandths of a season.

In session two, the gap was five hundredths.

Mark Winterbottom was the man closest to making a dent in Red Bull's dominance, on track to claim pole for race one until a late run-off by Tim Slade.

The reigning champion was forced to slow his approach and will instead start from fourth position, with Scott McLaughlin completing the second row of the grid for race one.

In race two, the Fords of Chaz Mostert and Fabian Coulthard will attempt to challenge the dominance of the Red Bulls from the second row.

In the race for third place in the championship, fourth-placed McLaughlin is well-placed to make ground on Craig Lowndes.

Lowndes will start in 21st, 18 places behind McLaughlin in race one, and five places behind the Volvo man in race two.

Saturday's races take place at 12:25pm and 2:45pm (AEDT).

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