Shane van Gisbergen has followed up his Saturday Repco Mount Panorama 500 race win by claiming pole for this afternoon’s Sunday race in the top 10 shootout — edging Tickford Racing’s Cameron Waters by just over a 10th.
It was a dramatic shootout as driver after driver appeared to struggle in the hot temperatures, with numerous moments of oversteer and apexes missed. Beyond van Gisbergen and Waters, DJR Shell V-Power Racing were also big winners; Anton De Pasquale and Will Davison locking out the second row of the grid.
By virtue of qualifying 10th earlier today, Andre Heimgartner was the first driver on track; a clean start to the lap foiled by a messy third sector and resulting in a 2:07.396. His marker was immediately bettered by teammate David Reynolds, who clocked a 2:07.222.
Heimgartner and Reynolds both complained about the handling of their Kelly Grove Mustangs, but it was clear that the hot conditions were wreaking havoc on everyone. Jamie Whincup was the next driver out on track, kicking off his lap with a wide moment through turn one and a slide at The Cutting. Still, the seven-time champ was able to post a somewhat competitive 2:06.955 (the first six of the shootout).
James Courtney was first to record a truly representative first split. The following second and third splits were also competitive, and eventually resulted in a 2:06.738. Although it was clean, thoughts of a Courtney pole were immediately extinguished by an excellent following lap from Mark Winterbottom — a 2:06.688.
Will Davison looked set to further improve on Winterbottom’s marker, recording a session-best first split and extending his advantage by some three tenths by Forest Elbow. By the time he crossed the line, the 2009 Bathurst 1000 winner had cranked out a 2:06.313. The curious thing with Davison was that he had achieved his time on roaded tyres, instead of greens.
Brief ideas that greens were inferior in the conditions, though, were shot straight away by Davison’s teammate De Pasquale. On his green tyres he was well over a tenth quicker in sector one, and after a pitch-perfect balance of the lap out came a stellar 2:05.800.
It was clear that things had reached another level by the time Waters had peeled onto the track to try and repeat his Saturday pole achievement. Despite a slight rear-tyre lock in the final corner, the Monster Mustang pilot was onto it — doing seemingly the impossible and beating De Pasquale with a 2:05.734.
Despite a clean looking first sector Chaz Mostert, who followed Waters, was a touch down at the first sector. His run down the hill was a loose one, a slide just past Skyline and a wall-tap at Forest Elbow slotting the Holden ace between Davison and Winterbottom. This left van Gisbergen as the last runner to challenge Waters for pole.
Starting his lap very early, the Saturday winner was a stunning two tenths over Waters — a whopping margin given the tight gaps between the runners to that point. Almost all of that advantage though had been lost by the end of the second sector thanks to a slide at Skyline, leaving a nail-biting final sector. But, with van Gisbergen nailing the last corner that Waters slid on, he was able to set a 2:05.617 — undercutting Waters by a tenth.
Repco Mount Panorama 500 Top 10 Shootout Sunday, provisional results
1. Shane van Gisbergen
2. Cameron Waters
3. Anton De Pasquale
4. Will Davison
5. Chaz Mostert
6. Mark Winterbottom
7. James Courtney
8. Jamie Whincup
9. David Reynolds
10. Andre Heimgartner