NEW CARS built for the 2017 Hi-Tec Oils Bathurst 6 Hour have proved to be quick out of the box this morning in the opening practice session.
RESULTS: Hi-Tec Oils Bathurst 6 Hour Practice 1.
Sherrin Racing’s BMW M4 topped the first 60-minute session held in perfect sunny conditions this morning at Bathurst, the 2016 runners-up posting a 2m27.88s on their eighth lap to top the charts.
That lap was just 0.7 seconds behind the time set by the 2016 pole sitters and 0.4s faster than the next-best car.
Rod Salmon and Nathan Antunes’ Mercedes-Benz A45 AMG was second, proving the brightly-liveried Bilstien sponsored car will be a threat this weekend.
A late lap from Supercars ace Tim Slade put the CXC Global Racing Mitsibishi he will share with Dylan Thomas to third late in the session, just 0.1s behind the AMG and making it three different brands in the top three spots at the end of the session.
The Barry Graham / Luke Searle / Paul Morris BMW M135i was fourth, while Chaz Mostert and Nathan Morcom made it three brand-new cars in the top five – their 2m28.828s lap putting the defending winners’ brand-new Ford Focus RS fourth. Less than one second covered the five different models in the top five positions in practice 1.
Andrew Richmond and Karl Reindler (Mitsubishi Lancer EVO X) grabbed sixth in their Mitsubishi Lancer EVO X, followed by John Bowe and David Wall in their East’s Holiday Park’s Mitsubishi EVO 8. Aussie muscle also fared well, Jeromy Gray and Jason Gomersall seventh in their FG Falcon GT-P, two seconds from the fastest time banked by the Sherrins bright red BMW.
Jim Pollicina and Ryan Simpson were ninth in another Lancer, while Tony Alford and Mark King pushed their Audi TTRS to 10th until the last minute of the session, when they were bumped to 11th by the Soole / Burgess / Burgess BMW 1M .
A1 cars filled the first 11 positions, with Jack Perkins and Leigh Burgess 12th in the car that won the race in 2016, and first of the B1 runners.
The Symonds / Lane / Bargwanna VY HSV topped Class A2, while the Krinelos / Virag / Loscialpo VF SS Redline topped the battle for B2 honours.
Colin Osborne and Hadrian Morall (Renault Megane RS265) topped Class C, Jimmy Vernon and Michael Caine Class D in their Toyota 86 while the Cowham / Kearns AU Falcon topped the Invitational class.
The 60-minute session was red flagged once, when Garth Walden stopped his Mercedes-Benz A45 on Mountain straight with smoke pouring from one of the pre-race favourites this weekend.
The team quickly diagnosed a blown turbo as the issue, moving quickly to cannibalise a spare road-going A45 for parts to ensure the car can return to the race this afternoon.
Walden’s five laps saw his car 16th fastest overall.
64 cars took to the track for practice one, 62 of them setting a lap time across the one-hour session.
Practice two is scheduled to start at 1:35pm.