Fabian Coulthard has shattered the Mount Panorama circuit lap record to emerge quickest in an incident-filled preliminary qualifying session for the Bathurst 1000.
The Brad Jones Racing Holden driver clocked a brilliant time of 2:05.6080 to edge out Shane van Gisbergen’s TEKNO Holden by a scant nine-hundredths of a second.
In an excellent day for the BJR stable, all three of its cars managed to get into Saturday’s ‘Top 10 Shootout’ for pole position: Dale Wood was a sensational third-fastest, while Jason Bright was sixth-quickest.
Bright was the early pace-setter in the session, clocking a 2:06.630 lap time to move to the top of the timesheets ahead of a mix of manufacturers comprising Scott McLaughlin (Volvo), Michael Caruso (Nissan), James Courtney (Holden) and Rick Kelly (Nissan).
Having topped Thursday practice with a now-broken record lap time, David Reynolds’ Bathurst hopes were dealt a major blow when he crashed heavily at Reid Park ten minutes into the session. The Bottle-O Racing Ford driver came across a slower Nissan dawdling on the racing line, but got onto the marbles trying to get by and lost the back end of his car. The back end of his car was almost completely destroyed, leaving his mechanics with a lot of work to do.
The walls around the Mt Panorama circuit were claiming casualties left, right and centre. The next driver to have a date with the concrete was perhaps the biggest surprise: championship leader Jamie Whincup. The Red Bull Racing driver lost it through The Cutting, triggering another red flag in the session.
With less than 15 minutes remaining, Mark Winterbottom moved to the top of the order from Scott McLaughlin and a surprising third-quickest Jack Perkins.
Van Gisbergen then lapped under the 2m06s marker to claim provisional pole, only to be bettered by Coulthard in the dying minutes. Wood popped up in third on his last tour – his delight on the pit-to-car radio was almost drowned out by the cheers from the crowd at this underdog performance.
Winterbottom finished fourth-fastest from McLaughlin’s Volvo and Bright’s Holden – Bright had himself looked on course to better Coulthard’s time, but made a mistake on his final lap and took a trip through the gravel trap at The Chase.
Perkins delivered his best qualifying performance of a terrible season with the seventh-fastest time, while James Moffat was the fastest of the Nissans. Garth Tander and Craig Lowndes’ Holdens rounded out the top-ten and will be first off in tomorrow’s ‘Lap of the Gods’ shootout for pole.
Wood’s last-second lap knocked James Courtney’s HRT Holden out of the top-ten, and the former champ will join a number of more fancied contenders in failing to make the Shootout.
Both Erebus Motorsport AMGs finished well down the order (Will Davison and Lee Holdsworth share the ninth row of the grid), while Chaz Mostert was disqualified from his provisional fourteenth-fastest time after being found guilty of overtaking another driver during red flag conditions.
Friday sees two further practice sessions at 09:45 and 13:10 AEDST (GMT +11) before preliminary qualifying gets underway at 15:00 – the session will determine the non-top-ten grid places and which drivers will compete in Saturday’s on-lap ‘Top-10 Shootout’.
2014 V8 Supercars Bathurst 1000 – Preliminary Qualifying Results:
|Driver||Team / Entry||Result|
|1.||Fabian Coulthard / Luke Youlden||Lockwood Racing||2:05.6080|
|2.||Shane van Gisbergen / Jonathon Webb||Team TEKNO VIP Petfoods||+ 0.0931|
|3.||Dale Wood / Chris Pither||Team ADVAM / GB||+ 0.6311|
|4.||Mark Winterbottom / Steve Owen||Pepsi Max Crew Ford Performance Racing||+ 0.6476|
|5.||Scott McLaughlin / Alexandre Premat||Valvoline Racing Polestar GRM||+ 0.7278|
|6.||Jason Bright / Andrew Jones||Team BOC||+ 0.8689|
|7.||Jack Perkins / Cameron Waters||Team Jeld-Wen||+ 0.9267|
|8.||James Moffat / Taz Douglas||Norton Hornets||+ 1.0008|
|9.||Garth Tander / Warren Luff||Holden Racing Team||+ 1.0115|
|10.||Craig Lowndes / Steven Richards||Red Bull Racing Australia||+ 1.0989|
|11.||James Courtney / Greg Murphy||Holden Racing Team||+ 1.1070|
|12.||Nick Percat / Oliver Gavin||HHA Racing||+ 1.1371|
|13.||Todd Kelly / Alex Buncombe||Jack Daniel’s Racing||+ 1.2010|
|14.||Michael Caruso / Dean Fiore||Norton Hornets||+ 1.2818|
|15.||Rick Kelly / David Russell||Jack Daniel’s Racing||+ 1.2822|
|16.||Scott Pye / Ashley Walsh||Wilson Security Racing||+ 1.6640|
|17.||Will Davison / Alex Davison||Erebus Motorsport V8||+ 1.8909|
|18.||Lee Holdsworth / Craig Baird||Erebus Motorsport V8||+ 1.9383|
|19.||Russell Ingall / Tim Blanchard||Repair Management Australia Racing||+ 1.9680|
|20.||Tim Slade / Tony D’Alberto||SuperCheap Auto Racing||+ 2.2916|
|21.||Robert Dahlgren / Greg Ritter||Valvoline Racing Polestar GRM||+ 2.6523|
|22.||David Wall / Steven Johnson||Wilson Security Racing||+ 2.7774|
|23.||Andre Heimgartner / Ant Pedersen||SuperBlack Racing||+ 2.8816|
|24.||Jamie Whincup / Paul Dumbrell||Red Bull Racing Australia||+ 13.9056|
|25.||David Reynolds / Dean Canto||The Bottle-O Racing Team||no time|
|DQ.||Chaz Mostert / Paul Morris*||Pepsi Max Crew Ford Performance Racing|
* Chaz Mostert’s qualifying times were excluded after he was found guilty of overtaking under red flag conditions.
Images via Christian Hartung