FESTIVAL COMMENCES WITH QUALIFYING ACTION

PETER CARR has edged out reigning champion Adrian Cottrell on a record-breaking day at the Bathurst Motor Festival.

In near-perfect conditions, seven race and regularity categories commenced their on-track activities with a raft of practice and qualifying to set the grids for when racing commences tomorrow.

Carr edged out Cottrell in the FW1 Aussie Racing Cars but the man who won last years’ title wasn’t concerned about missing out on the Friday bragging rights.

“To be honest, you could be first, fourth or eighth and still have a great chance at winning in this field,” Cottrell said.

“It’s just a massive slipstreaming battle. We know we have the pace so it should be good fun racing as it always is around here.”

Kyle Clews, Darren Chamberlin, Trent Young and VIP Petfoods driver Klark Quinn – making a one-off appearance this weekend – completed the top six.

Meanwhile, Queenslander John Magro recorded the fastest ever qualifying lap of Mount Panorama today as he took pole position for the third round of the 2012 Formula 3 Australian Drivers Championship – the open wheelers’ first ever visit to Bathurst.

Magro’s 2m05.50 saw him take pole ahead of his team-mate Jordan Skinner and championship leader James Winslow – all three drivers underneath the 2m06-seconds barrier today with more pace and a new Bathurst race lap record expected in race one tomorrow afternoon.

Greg Toephfer dominated the Australian Historic Touring Cars Group N qualifying session, his Thundering HQ some four seconds up the road from Leon Bell in a Monaro with the Falcons of Cameron Worner and Michael Anderson in close company.

The 24-strong field includes some stunning machinery including several very competitive Torana XU-1s and the thundering Ford GT Falcons in a nod to Bathurst’s history.

Fresh from winning the first round of the Radical sports car series, Neale Muston changed over to his regular Porsche 997 GT3 Cup Car and dominated proceedings in the CUE Production Sports Cars pair of qualifying sessions – but the Porsche pilot will have to hold back a plethora of Lotuses in the race tomorrow before he can get to the podium.

Garth Walden and Scott Bargwanna are in close company with the New South Welshman with the Jamie Augustine / Andrew Miedecke Daytona Coupe in close company just in behind the leading quartet of cars.

Rod Dawson was the only driver to break the 3-minute barrier in the Kenda Tyres HQ Holden endurance challenge, dominating proceedings in the second qualifying session to take the top spot for tomorrow.

HQ regulars Kieren Pilkington, Jamie Furness and Warren Trewin completed the top five ahead of the series’ unique pair of one-hour ‘mini endurance’ races tomorrow and Sunday.

Two regularity categories also completed laps today, the New South Wales Road Racing Club and the Porsche Club of NSW each taking to the track in order to set their ‘benchmark’ lap times prior to their first competitive session tomorrow morning.

Regularity competition pits competitors against the clock and their own consistency, each entrant required to nominate a set lap time and then attempt to get as close to it as possible – without breaking it.

On-track action commences at 0820am tomorrow morning with entry to the precinct free – save for a Bank Note donation to the official Event charity, Legacy.

Saturday’s action include the first one-hour HQ Holden race, plus the first race for F3 cars on Mount Panorama at 14;10pm.

For more information and complete Event results head to www.bathurstmotorfestival.com.au