Jonny Reid took pole position for his one-off entry into the Porsche City Index Carrera Cup Australia in qualifying for the Australian Grand Prix support event at Albert Park in Melbourne.
The Kiwi finished runner-up in the standings in 2011, but entered this season without a full-time ride. He missed the opener at the Clipsal 500 in Adelaide but was handed a lifeline by the Hunter Motor Sport team to be able to compete this weekend.
“I'm over the moon to take the pole position with Hunter Motor Sport,” said 28-year-old Reid, who was a multiple race winner in A1 Grand Prix for New Zealand.
“I certainly love this circuit; it's got that fast flowing European nature to it where you can get on the loud pedal and really attack it.
“I thought last year's field at Albert Park was the toughest, but this year you've got Alex Davison, Heinz-Harald Frentzen and other big names like Mark Skaife mixed in with the other regulars; it's probably the toughest Porsche field I've ever raced against. It's mind-blowing to be on pole against these drivers including Frentzen; that's something that doesn't happen every day.”
Frentzen, a former podium finisher in the Australian Grand Prix, is also making a one-off appearance in the Carrera Cup. He qualified eighth in the series' guest car.
“I got a really good first impression,” said the German driver. “I'm happy with my day today. In free practice in the morning, that was quite lucky because I had slick tyres on. That worked well for me and I knew these conditions from my past, so for me it was more crucial to learn set up positions.
“I really just tried to learn as much as possible in a short amount of time. My first experience in a Porsche after 20 years was nice. It's a really fast sports car. For my age it's perfect; I shouldn't go any faster.”
Reigning champion Craig Baird qualified second to make it an all-Kiwi front row, ahead of former V8 Supercar drivers Steven Richards and Davison. The latter's cousin James Davison took sixth on the grid behind Daniel Gaunt.
Skaife will start seventh alongside Frentzen, with Nick Foster and 16-year-old Andre Heimgartner sharing the fifth row. Max Twigg took the Elite class pole in 11th.