Gronkowksi strikes late to grab first pole of year

Jordan Gronkowski became the first man to break Ross Martin’s qualifying dominance in 2018 by securing pole position for the opening SMRC race of the weekend.

The Van Diemen driver exchanged fastest lap-times with Graham Brunton Racing’s Martin throughout the 15 minute session before setting a 54.270s on his final lap to claim the top spot.

He edged out Martin, who battled traffic in the early stages of the session, by a mere 0.058s to claim his first pole of the year.

Seb Melrose will line up third on the grid, some 0.2s back in the second GBR Ray, with Neil Broome fourth.

Broome was the first man to set a representative time with a 56.149 in his Ray and remained there while Martin and Melrose struggled to find clear air.

Martin then leapt to the top of the times with a 54.464, ahead of Broome and Melrose.

Gronkowski and Martin then swapped fastest times, with no more than 0.07s separating the two drivers all session.

The Aberdeenshire driver struck late on to claim his first pole of the year with a clean lap to topple Martin at the flag.

Martin’s final attempt was spoiled as the reigning champion got stuck behind the GBR Ray of Gary Sykes in the first sector.

Sykes eventually ground to a halt on the run out of the hairpin and did not complete his final lap, while the Mygale of James Clarke also hit trouble at McIntyres halfway through the session.

Matt Chisholm qualified his Van Diemen fifth, ahead of Sykes and Clarke, while Steve Barlow and Fraser Gray complete the grid.

Pos Class Driver Car Gap
1 Jordan Gronkowski Van Diemen 54.270s
2 Ross Martin Ray +0.058
3 Sebastian Melrose Ray +0.231
4 Neil Broome Ray +0.524
5 Matthew Chisholm Van Diemen +0.685
6 Gary Sykes Ray +0.822
7 James Clarke Mygale +1.007
8 Steven Barlow Ray +1.425
9 Fraser Gray Ray +2.017

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