V.I.P. Pet Foods Ford Falcon XR8 driver Cameron McLean produced his best qualifying performance of the year today to take 17th spot on the starting grid for round seven of the V8 Supercar Championship Series at Oran Park Raceway, near Sydney.
McLean was one of 31 drivers in a field of 36 covered by less than one second after an intensely competitive main qualifying session.
His lap time of 1 minute 9.50 seconds was within half a second of the mark set by provisional pole winner Max Wilson, although that pole time was lowered further in the Top Ten Shootout.
Fellow Ford driver Marcos Ambrose will start from the pole position.
After his best race result of the season, ninth in round six in Perth, McLean and his Paragon Motorsport team hope to maintain their good form in tomorrow's two 157-kilometre heats.
"This is the best start to a weekend we've had this season. We only had to make a few small changes to improve the cornering after the first practice session and I'm very happy with the Falcon," McLean said.
"All the team has worked hard to produce this result. We've tested twice in the past fortnight and they have made the Falcon go better and better.
"Tomorrow is going to be hard work. If it's as warm as it was today it will be demanding on drivers and tough on the cars, particularly the tyres.
"Also, there are limited places to overtake at Oran Park, so fast and fault-free pit stops will be very important in making up places.
"Our crew practised pit stops this morning and they're right on the pace."
1 Marcos Ambrose (Falcon) 1 min. 8.81 sec.
2 Jason Bright (Commodore) 1:09.03
3 Craig Lowndes (Falcon) 1:09.62
4 Mark Skaife (Commodore) 1:09.773
5 Cameron McConville (Commodore) 1:09.774
17 McLean (Falcon) 1:9.50
TEAM SPONSORS: In addition to V.I.P. Pet Foods, the Paragon Motorsport Ford Falcon V8 Supercar is sponsored by Cox Lawn Care Products, All Power Steering, Eibach Springs, Freightliner Trucks, PPG Paints, Revolution Racegear, Screen Offset Printing, Snap-on Tools, Spandex, Street Smart Designs and Wurth.
CAMERON'S 2001 STORY: Qualifying - McLean 18th, 1:08.60. Pole (Top 10) - Lowndes, 1:08.06. Race 1 - McLean 23rd (Skaife 1st). Race 2 - McLean 24th (Skaife 1st).
CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS (after Round 6): 168 points McLean (27th overall); 1493 Skaife, 884 Murphy, 802 T. Kelly .
TIMETABLE: Sunday - 8945 Warm-up (15 min.), 11.05 Race 1 (58 laps / 156.6 km, compulsory pit stop for tyres), 2.35 Race 2 (58 laps / 156.6 km, compulsory pit stop for tyres). TV - Network Ten, Sunday 2.00 - 5.00.