25 March 2016 | General


ORANGE driver Tim Leahey rocketed to the top of the time sheets late in the final practice session for the Hi-Tec Oils Bathurst 6 Hour this morning at Mount Panorama. Leahey’s 2m27.407s lap came on his final of 13 timed laps and bumped fellow BMW driver Chaz Mostert from the top spot by just under 0.5 seconds.The battle for the top spot came amidst dramas for the pacesetting car from Friday – the Roadchill Express BMW M135 blowing an engine mid-session as Paul Morris got his first laps of the weekend.PRACTICE 3 RESULTS – CLICK HERECool yet bright and sunny conditions made the session a quick one, with times tumbling in the final 15 minutes as teams looked towards qualifying later this afternoon.With the BMW brigade locking out the top two spots, the impressive Mercedes Benz A45 AMG continued its strong debut with the third fastest time – 2m28.001s just 0.6s from the outright pace.Terry Nightingale banked the 2m28.24s lap that put the CXC Global Mitsubishi fourth, the Sydney-based team tuning the car up overnight after a solid if unspectacular practice day on Friday.”The car wasn’t bad yesterday but we probably weren’t running enough camber, so we’ve made some changes and it seems better today,” Thomas confirmed mid-session.”We think we’ve got a good package. Terry has done a lot of laps and has been quick so we’re happy so far.”Though the session ran without interruption it wasn’t without drama, the fastest car of the weekend to date pitting mid-session with smoke pouring from the engine bay.Logging his first laps of the weekend having been drafted in to drive overnight, Paul Morris was behind the wheel of the Roadchill Express M135i when it suffered engine dramas entering the chase.The team confirmed a significant engine failure had occurred, with the team now looking to source a replacement from Sydney prior to the race tomorrow.An engine change overnight didn’t slow the DPO BMW 335i shared by Mostert and Nathan Morcom, with both drivers lapping competitively this morning.”We’re feeling good out there,” Mostert said.”We made some gains. The car felt good but we had some engine teething issues. We can still make it a little better in some areas but we’ll see what we can do in qualy.”Behind the four pacesetters, Iain Sherrin banked the 2m29.14s lap that put the Sherrin Rentals 135i BMW fifth, just in front of the Wall / Bowe Mitsubishi Lancer.Gerry Murphy and Michael Caine were next (2m30.15), with the Oosthuizen brothers (CXC Global Mitsubishi – 2m30.15s), Morris in the Searle BMW (2m30.66s) and the Melbourne Performance Centre-run Mitsubishi of Rod Salmon and Andrew Richmond competing the top 10.Qualifying will be held later this afternoon, the two-part format expected to provide a spectacular shootout for pole position.An initial 60-minute session will set positions 21-50, while a second, 15-minute dash immediately afterwards will determine the top 20 places on the grid.Qualifying 1 begins at 2:50pm local time with live timing available here.CLASS PACESETTERS – PRACTICE 3A12:27.407  Lynton-LeaheyTimothy LeaheyBMW M Coupe (1 Series)  A22:30.742  Hodges-CoulthardStephen HodgesHolden VY CSV Monaro Mondo GT  B12:27.953  Morcom-MostertChaz MostertBMW 335i E92  B22:33.026  Williams-Windsor-MuggletonJoshua MuggletonHolden VE-HSV SS  C2:37.571  Eddy-JouyMark EddyRenault Megane RS265  D2:43.918  Phillips-TurpieGrant PhillipsToyota 86 GTS ZN SER  E2:47.593  Kirkham-KirkhamDeclan KirkhamMazda MX6  I2:38.507  Kearns-CowhamColeby CowhamFord Falcon AU