Young gun Scott McLaughlin is now the fastest man in history around Mount Panorama with his second day of domination and provisional ARMOR ALL Pole Position for Australia’s great race.
McLaughlin led a trio of the next generation to top qualifying ahead of tomorrow’sARMOR ALL Top Ten Shootout with Chaz Mostert and Wilson Security Sandown 500 winner Cam Waters in the top four. Penrite Racing’s David Reynolds was wedged between the youngsters in second.
Almost incredibly Craig Lowndes and Jamie Whincup, who have ten Bathurst wins between them, will not appear in the shootout for the first time in recent memory. Whincup will start from grid spot 11 and Lowndes from way back in the field in position 19.
Shell V-Power’s McLaughlin and Reynolds have been consistently the fastest so far and qualifying proved no different. McLaughlin became the fastest man ever in final practice with an incredible 2:04.1470s and just millimetres from being the first to break into the ‘threes’.
McLaughlin beat Whincup’s previous record by a staggering 0.8 seconds.
“I have a lot of confidence in the car,” McLaughlin said.
“At that speed there’s a lot going on and you are holding on for dear life. It’s nice to be able to do three consistent laps in a row and be comfortable each time with that.
“We made a few tweaks with each stop and each time we made it better. The stop between practice and qualifying we made our car a little bit worse so we will work on that.”
McLaughlin said he would not leave anything on the track tomorrow.
“I will have a go,” he said. “Just to make the shootout is awesome and I’m excited for that. It is one of the best sessions of the year. It is going to be a lot of fun.”
McLaughlin followed up his practice feat in qualifying when Supercheap Auto Racing’s Mostert set the early pace along with Shane van Gisbergen. Mostert sat in second until Reynolds’ very last lap.
Valvoline GRM’s James Moffatt crashed coming down from the top of the mountain sparking a red flag with 15 seconds to go in the session. Reynold’s was on his flying lap as it all unfolded, crossing the line just seconds before the red flag stopped the session.
“I might have got lucky there,” Reynolds said. “So be it.”
Moffat had his fastest lap time taken away as a result dropping him from ninth to position 22 on the grid, a devastating outcome for the mistake. That, however, elevated his team-mate Garth Tander into the Top Ten Shootout.
Fabian Coulthard made it five Fords in the top six ahead of Van Gisbergen, James Courtney, Jason Bright and Garth Tander, who makes the Shootout after his team-mate Moffat’s error.
All four Nissan’s missed the top 10, with Rick Kelly the best of its fleet in 12th, while Brad Jones Racing befell a similar fate as Nick Percat proved its top runner in 14th.
Defending Champion Will Davison will start the 1000 in 16th after touching the wall through Sulman Park and spending the final minutes of the session in the garage.
Foxtel’s dedicated Bathurst channel, is running all week leading up to The Great Race.