4 Nov 2017

Waters gets pole as Pukekohe qualifying washed out

2:54 pm on 4 November 2017

Saturday's Supercars race in New Zealand looms as a battle of survival after rain forced qualifying to be abandoned.

Prodrive's Cameron Waters attempts to master wet conditions.

Prodrive's Cameron Waters attempts to master wet conditions. Photo: Clay Cross/PHOTOSPORT

Less than four minutes of the 20-minute session could be completed before organisers cancelled it due to unsafe conditions on the Pukekohe Park Raceway circuit.

The decision meant Ford's Cameron Waters will start the 70-lap race from pole, after he topped the timesheets in Friday's practice.

Championship leader Jamie Whincup will start from second, but the Holden ace had concerns about the 2.91km's resurfaced back straight, even if rain stops before the race begins.

"Providing that track out the back's wet, it's not fit for racing unfortunately," the Red Bull Holden Racing Team driver told Fox Sports.

"I don't envy the guys upstairs they've got a big call to make ... we just can't afford to go out there and tear cars up."

Whincup's four championship rivals --Ford trio Scott McLaughlin, Chaz Mostert and Fabian Coulthard as well as Red Bull teammate Shane Van Gisbergen - will all start in the top seven of the grid on Friday's combined practice times.

McLaughlin, who will start from fourth, said conditions during the truncated session where only 12 cars actually managed to complete a lap were simply terrible.

"It's pretty sketchy out there," the DJR Team Penske star said.

"That's the worst I've ever been in a race car."

Van Gisbergen posted the fastest lap of the abandoned qualifying session, though he was far from satisfied with the track situation.

"I did a lap at half-throttle down the back straight and said 'I'm pitting, this is stupid'," the defending series champion said.

"The back straight, it's too new on the surface I think and it's just so shiny and slippery.

"I just hope the rain eases and we're able to have a safe race even if it is wet but that level's just too much."

Saturday's race starts at 4.10pm.