August 12, 2023 | General

Gillis storms to maiden pole in TRA one-two

The Racing Academy’s Cody Gillis has stormed his way to a maiden National Trans Am Series pole position after an incredible performance early Saturday morning at Queensland Raceway.

The New South Welshman posted the session-best time of 1:11.57 ahead of teammate Elliot Cleary, who also had a personal-best outing less than one-tenth of a second behind Gillis.

Rounding out the top three places was Pioneer DJ’s Elliot Barbour, who has recovered nicely from a below-par Practice 1 to bring himself back into full contention by Saturday.

Lining up alongside Barbour on the second row of the grid for race one will be Sydney Property Care’s Edan Thornburrow, a driver who is coming into his own this weekend with multiple top-five finishes and will be hoping to continue that form from a strong position in race one.

Saturday’s qualifying session has also set up an intriguing situation in the developing title race with series leader, James Moffat only able to muster sixth place, while teammate and closest rival Lochie Dalton sits just behind him in seventh.

A driver the leading duo will have to keep an eye on is Tom Hayman, who qualified in an impressive fifth place and sure has the pace to challenge for the top three and disrupt any plans the Garry Rogers Motorsport Duo had of leaving Queensland Raceway with the series lead – Hayman currently sits third in the standings 69 points behind Moffat.

After dominating both practice sessions on Friday, Total Parts Plus’ Tim Brook will have to settle for eighth place – but will certainly still be a threat in his Dodge Challenger as he was still less than half a second back from the pole sitter.

But in the end, the session belonged to Gillis and his Racing Academy team, and the 24-year-old believes there is plenty left in the tank.

“It was really good, to be honest I think there was still a bit more in it, so we put the fresh tyres on for the second run and probably didn’t need to,” Gillis said.

“But it was a good result for the team getting the one-two and we are all working really hard at it behind the scenes so it’s great that it is finally showing.

“You have obviously got some pretty big names here, its good to be ahead of them but we still have four races to get done around here, so we will see how we go.

“The plan for race one is to get away, obviously tyre wear at this track will be a big factor so if we can create a gap and look after them, that will be the ultimate plan.

When asked about starting alongside his teammate, Gillis was adamant that no team orders will come into play.

“We are pretty good, we don’t care who wins or who comes second,” Gillis explained.

“As long as it’s a one-two, we are all happy.”

The National Trans Am Series will return to the track at 12:25pm AEST for the first of its four races across the weekend at Queensland Raceway.

Catch all of Saturday’s action live, ad-free and on-demand on Stan Sport from 11:30am AEST, or head to 9Go! From 2:00pm AEST.