HE might have been "hanging on for dear life", but Scott McLaughlin enjoyed every moment of his top 10 shootout run on Saturday afternoon as he claimed pole for the Bathurst 1000 with a Mount Panorama lap record.
McLaughlin peeled off a Supercars lap record two minutes, 03.3783 seconds effort in his Ford Mustang to claim Bathurst pole position for the second time in his career.
It was the third day in a row that the DJR Team Penske talent had set a record time at Mount Panorama, McLaughlin declaring "this car is a rocket ship and it just hooked up in those conditions. I'm just pumped."
"Obviously stoked, we have had a great car since the get go, the wheel work is easy when you have a great team and a great car," he said.
"I basically just had a crack, especially across the top where I was probably a little bit soft in practice and just held on really well.
"Coming down the hill, I was pretty fast and thought 'Geeze, I've just got to hold onto the thing'.
"Then just threw it into The Chase and the last corner and it held on, it stuck well."
Just as he had done two years earlier when clocking a then Supercars lap record of 2:03.8312 in the shootout, McLaughlin again claimed pole with an electrifying effort around the 6.213 kilometre circuit.
It built on what had been a dominant performance across the opening two days at Mount Panorama.
McLaughlin took provisional pole on Friday as he produced a 2:27.6476 lap in the wet, cold qualifying session, while earlier that morning the Supercars championship leader had clocked a then record 2:03.4813 in practice to be a half-second clear of the field.
That lowered the lap record he set in Thursday practice.
McLaughlin made a brilliant start to his run in the shootout, being 0.332 seconds quicker than any of his rivals to the first split. From there he continued to push to secure position one on the grid.
He knows going on to win the Bathurst 1000 from pole will be no easy task, but his run thus far has certainly given him confidence.
"It means nothing for tomorrow, it's 161 laps, everyone knows that. There's a fair quote coming out, 10 years since someone's won it from pole, so we'll just have to get on with it, use our position and see how we go."
Joining him on the front row for the start of Sunday's Great Race is Tickford star Chaz Mostert.
Making his return to the shootout after missing a chance to post a one-lap flyer last year, Mostert pulled out a 2:03.7897 effort in his Mustang.
While unable better to his fastest lap ever around the Mount which he peeled off in a practice session earlier in the day - a 2:03.5089 - he was still delighted.
"For me, my lap was tapped, is the fastest I've ever taken a Supercar across the top, I left nothing off the table," he said.
"I'm stoked for a front row start, but McLaughlin has been impressive all year and smashed us again.
"I felt like we have made a lot of inroads with our car this weekend.
"I am reasonable happy with my car, I don't know if it is the fastest car out there, we were obviously a little behind in qualifying and the top 10 there. Saying that, it is a comfy car to drive, it's not scary like it was when it first rolled out in practice.
"This place, it's 161 laps and anything can happen, and I am a big believer, you need the comfort under you. You don't want a super-fast car and be nervous around here. You want something you can back up lap after lap and it might not be the fastest but it will be the safest."
Third out on the track, Cam Waters was the first driver to crack the 2:03s and his mark of 2:03.9187 lasted until his Tickford team-mate Mostert got his chance.
Still, Waters' effort put him in the second row on the grid in position three.
Starting alongside him in Sunday's race from position four will be Red Bull Holden Racing talent Jamie Whincup.
Chasing Bathurst pole for the third time in his career, Whincup was on track to better Waters as he went quicker through the first sector.
But in what was his ninth appearance in the shootout, Whincup could not emulate his pole-snaring efforts of 2013 and 2016. He finished with a 2:03.9505.
His Red Bull team-mate Shane van Gisbergen, who had claimed Bathurst pole five years earlier, ranked fifth with a 2:04.1136.
Will Davison took position six (2:04.8395) in his Tickford backed Ford Mustang while Penrite Racing's Anton de Pasquale (2:04.3830) produced the seventh fastest lap.
They were followed by the two Brad Jones Racing drivers to feature in the shootout - Nick Percat (2:04.6705) and Tim Slade (2:04.8395).
Rounding out the top 10 was Mark Winterbottom.
While he had been the quickest man in the shootout in both 2007 and 2010 when steering a Ford Falcon, behind the wheel of his Irwin Racing Holden Commodore ZB on Saturday he could not match those efforts.
A couple of lock-ups cost him as he clocked a 2:04.9800.
Sunday's Bathurst 1000 will commence at 11.30am.