Tickford Racing’s Cameron Waters has reaffirmed his early weekend pace to claim a stunning pole position for tomorrow’s Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 with co-driver Will Davison.
Waters’ 2:04.559 is the quickest time ever set in the Supercars Bathurst shootout, discounting the 2:04.378 set by Scott McLaughlin in last year’s shootout — a time taken away from the Kiwi in the controversy following the race. McLaughlin will line up second for the Great Race, four tenths off Waters, and ahead of Chaz Mostert and Nick Percat.
The session kicked off with questions of whether the weather would hold up for all 10 runners. Spots of rain had been spotted, but the track was dry for the opening runners. In the end, no rain would come.
Nick Percat was the first driver out on track, by virtue of being 10th in yesterday’s qualifying session. The R&J Batteries entry had been compromised by shift cut issues in the build-up, and the thought was that more pace was still on the table. After a stellar lap on green tyres, underlined by a near rub of the wall at Reid Park, Percat clocked in a 2:04.247 — his quickest time of the weekend.
James Courtney was over a second adrift from Percat after a slidey lap. Chaz Mostert following was a tenth up on Percat after the first split, then lost a little time in the mid-sector after a slide at McPhillamy Park. The time at the end of the lap was a very competitive 2:04.010, almost half a second quicker than the time he set to earn a shootout berth.
Anton De Pasquale was next, understeer at turn one and a slide at McPhillamy seeing him slot behind Percat with a 2:04.768. Fabian Coulthard, the first of the Ford Mustang runners, ended up behind De Pasquale — a slight moment at the final corner spoiling a clean lap on green tyres.
Seven-time Supercars champ Jamie Whincup battled oversteer at the Cutting, with the scoreboard still saying he was just a smidge slower than Mostert at the end of splits one and two. But, a wide moment through the dirt at the Chase relegated him to the tail of the 10.
Cameron Waters, having topped numerous practice sessions throughout the Bathurst week, followed Whincup with plenty watching to see if the youngster could challenge for the front row. His first split was the quickest of anyone to that point, and despite a sly lock-up in the essess he was a whopping four tenths up on Mostert to the second split.
The end of the lap confirmed a sublime 2:03.559 — the quickest time ever set in a Bathurst 1000 shootout.
McLaughlin, tipped to also have some spare pace up his sleeve, was next out. He was within a tenth of Waters at the first split, the time faded a touch to be a tenth and a half down at Forrest Elbow. The subsequent clean 2:04.002 was enough to go behind Waters, four tenths down on the Monster Mustang.
The last two runners were Shane van Gisbergen and Lee Holdsworth. The Red Bull ace was first; clocking in almost two tenths adrift of Waters but close to par with McLaughlin. But, the Kiwi’s time was to be spoiled by a missed apex at the Chase and an error at the last corner — a 2:04.451 putting him behind the giant-killing time of Percat.
Holdsworth, after his incredible Friday heroics, was the last driver to take on Waters’ epic time. A lack of front grip spoiled the veteran’s chance of repeating the Friday fairy-tale, a 2:04.676 seeing him line up sixth.
Bathurst 1000 Top 10 Shootout
1. Cameron Waters
2. Scott McLaughlin
3. Chaz Mostert
4. Nick Percat
5. Shane van Gisbergen
6. Lee Holdsworth
7. Anton De Pasquale
8. Fabian Coulthard
9. James Courtney
10. Jamie Whincup