McLaugh­lin bags pole at Bathurst

Sunday News - - NEWS - DAVID LONG AT BATHURST

GETTY IMAGES SCOTT McLaugh­lin will start the Bathurst 1000 in pole po­si­tion af­ter set­ting the fastest time in yes­ter­day’s thrilling top 10 shootout around the 6.213km cir­cuit.

The 24-year-old Kiwi recorded the fastest ever of­fi­cial lap around Mount Panorama, with a time of 2:03.831 around the fa­mous course.

McLaugh­lin went last in the shootout, hav­ing been fastest in Fri­day’s qual­i­fy­ing ses­sion and it looked as if he could have blown it when he put two wheels off the track at McPhillamy, but in­cred­i­bly he was able to keep the pace high and make this his 18th front row start in a row.

He’ll go into to­day’s race as the red hot favourite and if he man­ages to pull off the big­gest race win of his life, he’ll be the first Kiwi main game driver to win the Bathurst 1000 since Greg Mur­phy in 2004.

First to go in the shootout was Garth Tan­der, who did a time of 2:05.326, Jason Bright was able to knock a 10th of a sec­ond off that time. Fol­low­ing a slow time from James Court­ney, Shane van Gis­ber­gen set a new bench­mark. The reign­ing Su­per­cars cham­pion was faster at ev­ery sec­tor and posted a time of 2:04.669

Fel­low Kiwi Fabian Coulthard was fast for the first part of his lap, but nearly put his Ford into the wall at the Cut­ting, how­ever he was still only three 10ths of a sec­ond slower than van Gis­ber­gen.

Mark Win­ter­bot­tom, who has had an av­er­age sea­son recorded a quicker time than van Gis­ber­gen at 2:04.499, while Cameron Waters, who is shar­ing a car with Richie Stan­away, was a touch slower than van Gis­ber­gen.

Chaz Mostert 0.09 sec­onds slower than his Pro­drive Rac­ing Aus­tralia team-mate, Win­ter­bot­tom, but David Reynolds con­firmed his spot on the front row with a new fastest time of 2:04.275. McLaugh­lin was the only driver who could knock him off pole po­si­tion and at one point on the lap it looked like he’d over­cooked one cor­ner, but not so and he’ll be the driver to beat in the 1000km race. Mean­while, three of the New Zealand co­drivers didn’t need to watch any of the ac­tion yes­ter­day, as their main driv­ers didn’t make it into the shootout.

So Tim Slade and An­dre Heim­gart­ner will start the Great Race in 18th place, Craig Lown­des and Steven Richards are a place fur­ther back on the grid, while Dale Wood and Chris Pither will start from 21st place. For Heim­gart­ner it’s been a cou­ple of days where he’s been on a steep learn­ing curve, as the first time he stepped into the car he’ll be rac­ing was on Fri­day morn­ing.

Ash Walsh was sup­posed to be Slade’s co-driver, but he made call early on Fri­day that the pain from his four bro­ken ribs, picked up when crash­ing a sports car last week – was too se­vere.

Heim­gart­ner was at Bathurst to just race in the Porsche Car­rera Cup, but was called up to get a seat in the main race as team owner, Brad Jones re­garded him as the best op­tion.

‘‘It’s awe­some to be rac­ing in the big race again and ob­vi­ously with a good driver like Tim it’s go­ing to be ex­cit­ing,’’ Heim­gart­ner said.

‘‘I’m slowly get­ting used to the car more and feel­ing com­fort­able in it. But it’s one of those things where you need laps.’’ Shootout, Mount Panorama, Bathurst (cir­cuit: 6.213km): 1. Scott McLaugh­lin (Ford) 2mins3.8310sec2. David Reynolds (Holden) 2:04.27503. Mark Win­ter­bot­tom (Ford) 2:04.49904. Chaz Mostert (Ford) 2:04.58805. Shane Van Gis­ber­gen (Holden) 2:04.66906. Cameron Waters (Ford) 2:04.68007. Fabian Coulthard (Ford) 2:04.96908. Jason Bright (Ford) 2:05.22809. Garth Tan­der (Holden) 2:05.326010. James Court­ney (Holden) 2:05.4890

Kiwi driver Scott McLaugh­lin roars his way around the Mount Panorama track in his Ford Fal­con FGX yes­ter­day.

Kiwi star Scott McLaugh­lin.

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