Cameron Waters and Lee Holdsworth have emerged as the quickest drivers in the final Bathurst 1000 practice session before this evening’s Top 10 Shootout.
The session featured a plethora of process practices, with only a handful of drivers appearing to perform a late qualifying rehearsal lap. While the weather was largely good, thunderstorms are forecast for the afternoon.
Waters, continuing his ongoing pace, was first to set a representative time with a 2:05.211 — only for it to be obliterated by a 2:04.628 set by van Gisbergen six minutes in. The time stood for a while — van Gisbergen leading Lee Holdsworth, Waters, James Courtney, and Fabian Coulthard after 20 minutes.
The mid-portion of the session saw many teams rehearse pit-stop processes, including swapping brake pads and driver changes. A hefty amount of ominous cloud came over the top of the circuit, but it held off from unloading rain.
Various co-drivers also got to have a stint, including Garth Tander, Broc Feeny, and James Moffat. But by the last 20 minutes most of the main drivers were back behind the wheel.
As the last 15 minutes arrived teams started trying to take on the top of the totem again, albeit most using slightly worn tyres. Coulthard jumped to second, McLaughlin to third, and Nick Percat to fourth, with Jamie Whincup looking set to challenge for the top spot via a purple second sector, only for him to run wide at the last corner and ruin the lap.
Provisional pole-sitter Holdsworth threw down the gauntlet with a rapid 2:04.464 — finally edging van Gisbergen’s early time. McLaughlin was next; a sideways moment prior to the Cutting not stopping him from registering a purple first sector, which was then followed by a personal best second sector. It was good enough for a 2:04.662 to improve to third.
Better was Chaz Mostert. The Walkinshaw driver leaped over both van Gisbergen and McLaughlin to park his Commodore in second. But he wouldn’t be there long. An on-edge Waters, narrowly avoiding the wall on the exit of Forest Elbow, set a sharp 2:04.349 to set the quickest time with two minutes to go.
That’s how the order remained at the front as the clock hit zero; Waters over Holdsworth, Mostert, van Gisbergen (Tander having spend most of the session behind the wheel), McLaughlin, Coulthard, Percat, Whincup, Courtney, and De Pasquale rounding out the top 10 — Andre Heimgartner narrowly missing out in 11th.