CHAZ MOSTERT’S near-perfect return to Mount Panorama has continued after he and Nathan Morcom secured pole for the inaugural Hi-Tec Oils Bathurst 6 Hour today.
A flying 2m26.87s lap – 0.02s slower than the qualifying record for the class – from Mostert saw the Direct Plasterboard Outlet BMW 335i Turbo edge out Beric Lynton and Tim Leahey’s BMW 1M for the top spot by 0.2 seconds in a tense 15-minute session for the top 20 fastest cars.
Garth Walden and Ben Porter will start the race from third place in their AMG A45, despite Walden clouting the wall at turn two moments after banking his impressive 2m27.35s lap.
The Mercedes suffered damage to the right hand side however was able to drive back to the paddock under its own power and will be repaired prior to the race tomorrow.
Iain Sherrin saved his best lap for late in the session however could only manage fourth in the Sherrin Rentals BMW 135i.
The top four cars were split by just 0.5 seconds and had a comfortable margin to the fastest of the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution runners in fifth place.
That car was the surprising Massel Racing / Pollicina Motorsports car driven by Michael Caine and Gerry Murphy. A 2m28.68s lap from Caine late in the session bumped favoured Mitsubishi runners Dylan Thomas and Terry Nightingale to sixth position by just 0.2 seconds.
Despite posting their fastest times of the weekend to date, David Wall and John Bowe will start the race from seventh position in their Wilson Security Mitsubishi, one position alongside the Rod Salmon / Andrew Richmond Melbourne Performance Centre entry.
Wade Scott and Duncan Handley (CXC Global Mitsubishi Lancer) and the Tony Virag / Jeromy Gray / Warren Millet HSV GTS completed a top-10 that featured four different brands and seven models.
Not featuring in the fight for pole as expected was the Roadchill Express BMW Luke Searle utilised to top the time sheets throughout Friday practice.
With co-driver Barry Graham ill, the team flew former Bathurst champion Paul Morris down late last night to deputise however the BMW M135i blew an engine early into the final practice session on Saturday morning.
The experienced outfit expects to start the race with a replacement unit sourced from Sydney overnight.
While the top-20 cars qualified for their grid positions in a stand-alone 15-minute session, an early hour-long session decided the remaining track positions and the respective class starting orders.
Experienced campaigners Mark Eddy and Francois Jouy scored pole in Class C, their Renault Megane RS265 26th outright and more than three seconds faster than their nearest rivals.
The Toyota 86 GTS of Leigh Burges, Gary Burges and Geoffrey Moran scored the top spot in class D, while the Nissan Pulsar of Dimitrios Agathos and James Duckworth grabbed pole in the ‘compact’ class E.
Lindsay Kearns and Colbey Cowham took the invitational class pole in their AU Falcon Saloon Car.
In other action at the Bathurst Motor Festival, Vince Macri (Chevrolet Camaro) and Brad Tilley (Ford Mustang) won the pair of Group N Historic Touring Car races held today – and when they weren’t winning, they finished second.
Ford Mustang driver John Harrison finished third in each race with a further sprint to come tomorrow morning.
Australian GT regular Scott Taylor won the first of two Production Sports Car one-hour enduros, jumping to the lead during a well-timed pit stop taken under a Safety Car.
International ace Benny Simonsen had sprinted away from the field earlier in the race driving the Ferrari 488 GT3 however a late stop saw co-driver Tony Defelice forced to charge through the field in the closing stages, ultimately finishing third.
Father and son combo of Ryan and Peter McLeod – the 1987 Bathurst 1000 winner – finished second in a Mazda 3 MARC Cars Australia racer.
Porsche racers Daniel Stutterd and Neale Muston completed the top five with a further one hour race to be held tomorrow.
Rod Raatjes and Brett Osborn finished 1-2 in the pair of FUSO HQ Holden races contested today.
Meanwhile, the Porsche Club of New South Wales and the NSW Road Racing Club both completed a pair of regularity trials.
For full results from today’s action, click here.
The Hi-Tec Oils Bathurst 6 hour commences at 12:00pm AEDT on Easter Sunday and will be streamed live via www.bathurstmotorfestival.com.au. Streaming commences at 8:00am tomorrow morning with action from the support races and continues through to the end of the podium.