Walkinshaw Andretti United’s credible run of pace in the build-up to the Bathurst 1000 has continued with Chaz Mostert edging Shane van Gisbergen ahead of this afternoon’s Top 10 Shootout.
Mostert and van Gisbergen were among the drivers to do shootout simulation runs as a dress rehearsal for the intense shootout format. Naturally other shootout runners dominated the top 10; Brodie Kostecki, Anton De Pasquale, and Will Brown completing the top five.
The final Bathurst 1000 practice followed a similar path to practice sessions four and five, with plenty of teams placing emphasis on race pace rather than outright single-lap pace. Of course, some teams had a top 10 shootout to think about later in the afternoon, while others did not.
Missing in action in the early minutes was the Mustang of Andre Heimgartner and Matt Campbell. The Kelly Grove Racing group had the car in pit-lane to complete the last repairs to it following Campbell’s crash in practice five.
Erebus Motorsport continued to do things a little differently from everyone else, with provisional polesitter Brown and Brodie Kostecki both doing what appeared to be a Top 10 Shootout simulations. Brown was the first driver to file away a five, with a 2:05.845, with Kostecki following moments later with the first four, a 2:04.704.
Almost all the teams had their co-drivers in for the first stanza of practice, with Lee Holdsworth, Tim Blanchard, Alex Davison, Luke Youlden, Jonathon Webb, and Jayden Ojeda being among the exceptions.
The Erebus duo were two of only three cars to conjure a five in the first 20 minutes, with Chaz Mostert joining them 20 minutes in having taken over the controls of his Walkinshaw Commodore from Holdsworth. De Pasquale had also improved, but only to fourth on a 2:06.052.
At halfway Kostecki (with David Russell now behind the wheel) led Mostert, Brown (Jack Perkins now behind the wheel), Scott Pye, De Pasquale, and Broc Feeney in sixth.
As the final 20 minutes of the session arrived, a selection of drivers competing in the shootout put in their shootout runs. Van Gisbergen was one, improving to second, with Percat jumping to third following a similar simulation.
There was less success for De Pasquale. His quick lap was hampered by a wide sideways moment at Griffins Bend followed by a wide run into the grass on the exit of the Chase. De Pasquale later complained about his tyre set. His pace would improve later in the session.
Kostecki’s time was finally eclipsed with just over 11 minutes to go, with van Gisbergen clocking a 2:04.425. He then temporarily parked the car before returning to the track in the last four minutes.
With six minutes to go, Mostert was next to put down a shootout simulation. After registering a purple first and second sector pair, the 2014 Bathurst winner leaped to the top on a 2:04.187.
De Pasquale was next, putting down a 2:04.795 and complaining of the car being loose. Waters was next to have a crack, slotting in just behind De Pasquale with a 2:04.927. His lap started quick, but he lost some three tenths in his middle sector and then ran wide at the last corner.
Van Gisbergen’s rebuttal to Mostert came with two minutes left. His lap featured an excellent first sector, but in the end it couldn’t quite dethrone Mostert, being just 0.0117 away.
In the end, nobody would beat Mostert’s time, with the top 10 filled with drivers taking on the shootout. Mostert led van Gisbergen, with Kostecki, De Pasquale, Brown, Waters, LeBrocq, Davison, Percat, and Tim Slade completing the top 10.
Fabian Coulthard was among those to narrowly miss the 10, in 11th. Jamie Whincup also missed out on the top 10, ending up 16th.