Scott McLaughlin sends reminder to Supercars rivals with scorching qualifier to take pole in first race back

Qualifying king Scott McLaughlin will start from the front of the grid for the first Supercars race in more than 100 days.

Scott McLaughlin. Source: Photosport

The two-time defending champion produced a scorching shootout lap at Sydney Motorsport Park on Saturday to secure his 62nd career pole.

McLaughlin will be looking to extend his early lead in the championship standings for the first of three 33-lap races this weekend.

The Ford flyer edged out Red Bull Holden rival Shane van Gisbergen to claim his first pole since the Gold Coast round last year, and his seventh at the Western Sydney circuit.

"Any time you get pole is fantastic; the lap was pretty solid and we've just been improving the car all day," McLaughlin said.

"I was probably expecting that was going to be a quick lap for me ... so I just had to have a crack and see what happens."

In the spectator-less round, Tickford's Cameron Waters will start from third, while former Ford favourite Chaz Mostert secured the fourth-fastest shootout lap in his Commodore.

Seven-time champion Whincup admitted he felt rusty back after a 107-day coronavirus-enforced break but did enough to round out the top-five.

McLaughlin and Whincup won the only two completed races of the season so far, sharing honours at the Adelaide 500.

Practice sessions were held for the Australian Grand Prix round in March before the COVID-19 pandemic forced the cancellation of the event.