Jamie Whincup pushes hard in his Red Bull Holden Racing Team Holden during a practice session at the Newcastle 500. Picture: Dan Himbrechts/AAP
Jamie Whincup pushes hard in his Red Bull Holden Racing Team Holden during a practice session at the Newcastle 500. Picture: Dan Himbrechts/AAP

Whincup tops qualifying at Newcastle 500

TRIPLE Eight gun Shane van Gisbergen has snuck into the Newcastle 500 top 10 shootout by the skin of his teeth to breathe life into their Supercars teams' championship title tilt.

Jamie Whincup topped qualifying on the beachfront track, and teammate van Gisbergen clinched 10th in the dying seconds on Saturday morning.

Van Gisbergen struggled for pace on new tyres and only made the shootout by 0.0448 seconds on his final lap, as stars Mark Winterbottom, Will Davison and Chaz Mostert all missed out.

"We're in the 10 somehow but if I got told I was 50th I would have believed them," van Gisbergen said.

DJR Team Penske's Scott McLaughlin and Fabian Coulthard lead Whincup and van Gisbergen by 116 points leading into race one of the season-ending event.

There are 576 points up for grabs in Newcastle and the Holden duo look primed to steal teams' championship after setting the pace in qualifying.

Coulthard was fourth and McLaughlin finished eighth, with the top 10 shootout to decide grid positions for race one.

"You can't pass here, the track is too tight, so we need to qualify well," van Gisbergen said.