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.

Jack Perkins

Jack Perkins triggered one of several qualifying upsets, and will run in tomorrow’s Top 10 Shootout.

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 Holden Lockwood Racing 2:05.6080
2. Shane van Gisbergen / Jonathon Webb Holden Team TEKNO VIP Petfoods + 0.0931
3. Dale Wood / Chris Pither Holden Team ADVAM / GB + 0.6311
4. Mark Winterbottom / Steve Owen Ford Pepsi Max Crew Ford Performance Racing + 0.6476
5. Scott McLaughlin / Alexandre Premat Volvo Valvoline Racing Polestar GRM + 0.7278
6. Jason Bright / Andrew Jones Holden Team BOC + 0.8689
7. Jack Perkins / Cameron Waters Ford Team Jeld-Wen + 0.9267
8. James Moffat / Taz Douglas Nissan Norton Hornets + 1.0008
9. Garth Tander / Warren Luff Holden Holden Racing Team + 1.0115
10. Craig Lowndes / Steven Richards Holden Red Bull Racing Australia + 1.0989
11. James Courtney / Greg Murphy Holden Holden Racing Team + 1.1070
12. Nick Percat / Oliver Gavin Holden HHA Racing + 1.1371
13. Todd Kelly / Alex Buncombe Nissan Jack Daniel’s Racing + 1.2010
14. Michael Caruso / Dean Fiore Nissan Norton Hornets + 1.2818
15. Rick Kelly / David Russell Nissan Jack Daniel’s Racing + 1.2822
16. Scott Pye / Ashley Walsh Ford Wilson Security Racing + 1.6640
17. Will Davison / Alex Davison AMG Erebus Motorsport V8 + 1.8909
18. Lee Holdsworth / Craig Baird AMG Erebus Motorsport V8 + 1.9383
19. Russell Ingall / Tim Blanchard Holden Repair Management Australia Racing + 1.9680
20. Tim Slade / Tony D’Alberto Holden SuperCheap Auto Racing + 2.2916
21. Robert Dahlgren / Greg Ritter Volvo Valvoline Racing Polestar GRM + 2.6523
22. David Wall / Steven Johnson Ford Wilson Security Racing + 2.7774
23. Andre Heimgartner / Ant Pedersen Ford SuperBlack Racing + 2.8816
24. Jamie Whincup / Paul Dumbrell Holden Red Bull Racing Australia + 13.9056
25. David Reynolds / Dean Canto Ford The Bottle-O Racing Team no time
DQ. Chaz Mostert / Paul Morris* Ford 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

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Richard Bailey

Founder & Chief Editor at MotorsportM8
Hasn't missed a Grand Prix since 1989. Has a soft spot for Minardi. Tattooed with 35+ Grand Prix circuits.