CATCH ME IF YOU CAN

Sunday Tasmanian - - Front Page - JAMES PHELPS

SU­PER­CARS se­ries leader Scott McLaugh­lin, right, scorched around Mount Panorama in a lap record to claim pole po­si­tion for to­day’s Bathurst 1000

SCOTT McLaugh­lin wept tears of joy yes­ter­day af­ter re­al­is­ing his life­long dream of scor­ing a Bathurst 1000 pole po­si­tion with a record-break­ing one-lap blitz around Mount Panorama.

With the fastest lap in the his­tory of the fa­mous race, the DJR Team Penske pi­lot be­came a Mount Panorama great, scorch­ing his way around the 6.2km track to win a fa­mous Top Ten Shootout with an inch-per­fect drive.

Of­fi­cially claim­ing “The Lap of the Gods’’ by tak­ing the Mount Panorama record in a Top Ten Shootout, McLaugh­lin, 24, be­came the first to beat the mag­i­cal 2.04 mark.

The Ford flyer burst into tears when he crossed the line and saw the record time flash up on his dash – a stag­ger­ing 2min 03.83 sec.

“This is just a dream come true,’’ McLaugh­lin said. “I have been dream­ing about this since I was kid. Wow.’’

Af­ter what Bathurst im­mor­tal Mark Skaife de­scribed as a life-chang­ing mo­ment, McLaugh­lin fist punched the air af­ter launch­ing him­self on top of the Pit Straight wall.

“Oh my god,’’ McLaugh­lin said. “I am just over the moon. This is just crazy. I knew we could do that. I knew we could do those times.’’

The wild cel­e­bra­tion spread in­side the DJR/Team Penske garage among the team that had en­gi­neered Bathurst’s fastest-ever car.

Even sec­ond fastest Dave Reynolds ap­plauded the his­tory-mak­ing lap af­ter con­tin­u­ing his red-hot form to book a front row start.

“They have been su­per-fast all week­end and that lap was some­thing spe­cial,” the Ere­bus Holden driver said.

The wall-brush­ing one-lap blitz be­gan with Garth Tan­der go­ing out first, clock­ing a 2:05.32 to show the track was still po­ten­tially record-break­ing fast.

“We didn’t get a chance to re­hearse for this in prac­tice,’’ Tan­der said.

“But the guys did a great job set­ting it up for the shootout. The car was re­ally nice and I am happy with that lap.’’

Ford vet­eran Ja­son Bright went bet­ter on the very next blast but Holden hero James Court­ney made a mi­nor mis- take to put him­self out of con­tention for a gi­ant-killing Bathurst pole.

In his eighth Mount Panorama Top Ten Shootout, se­ries cham­pion Shane Van Gis­ber­gen went fastest in the first sec­tor to an­nounce his Mount Panorama in­tent.

The Red Bull racer con­tin­ued to fly and recorded a 2:04.66 to set the bench­mark.

Fabian Coulthard threat­ened to fence his Fal­con com­ing into the cut­ting with a top-ofthe-moun­tain slide that had hearts in mouths.

The DJR Team Penske pi­lot re­cov­ered to bank a 2:04.96 and give him­self a solid 1000km race shot.

Ford favourite Mark Win- ter­bot­tom then blasted his way to pro­vi­sional pole with a near per­fect lap.

Win­ter­bot­tom’s Pro­drive Rac­ing Aus­tralia team­mate Cam Waters couldn’t top Frosty’s time. And nei­ther could fel­low PRA flyer Chaz Mostert, the for­mer Bathurst win­ner fail­ing to match Win­ter­bot­tom by just a tenth.

Pic­ture: MARK HORSBURGH

TOP SHOT: Scott McLaugh­lin cel­e­brates claim­ing pole po­si­tion for to­day’s Bathurst 1000.

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