2 April 2021 | General

SVG flies as BMWs top opening day at Mount Panorama

Shane van Gisbergen needed just four laps to return his BMW M4 to the top of the charts to complete a sweep of Friday Practice in preparation for the 2021 Hi-Tec Oils Bathurst 6 Hour.

Having jumped to the top of the charts late in the first session, Van Gisbergen struck early in the second by banking a 2m25.9092s flyer on his third lap of an initial four-lap run to set a time that would not be beaten.

RESULTS: Click here for Practice 2 results

He then pitted, handing the car over to his less experienced co-drivers Shane Smollen and Rob Rubis to gain race miles for the remainder of the session.

Regardless, it ensured the Prestige Connex BMW ended the day comfortably quickest in another Bathurst day dominated by BMWs.

Beric Lynton and Tim Leahey ended the day second in their M3, a series of fast laps from the latter of the pair late in the day jumping them up the order and within striking distance of the van Gisbergen-steered M4.

The Sherrin Racing M4 was hustled to third position by David Russell late in the day, his final lap bumping the Ellery BMW back to fourth place as the checkered flag dropped. As such, the Steven / Dalton / Tristan Ellery BMW M3 competition ended practice two fourth, thanks to the impressive 2m28.1699s best set by Dalton early in the session.

The BMW sweep of the top five was completed when Dylan Thomas popped up in fifth position within the final two minutes: The BMW M4 he is sharing with Anthony Soole a late improver at the very end of the day.

Some Aussie V8 muscle was next: The Wake Up Backpackers HSV GTS driven by John Bowe, Barry Sternbeck and Tony Virag sixth fastest, thanks to Bowe’s 2m30.9233s best.

The Garth Walden / Michael Auld Mercedes A45AMG topped class A1 for the second straight session proving the four-wheel drive turbo rockets remain contenders, while the class A2 pacesetter was right behind: the category topped for the second time on Friday by the Miedecke / Morris / Kostecki Ford Mustang in eighth outright.

The #95 ‘Stang was only fractionally ahead of the #25: Coleby Cowham and Lindsay Kearns ninth outright and second in class.

Tenth – and second in A1 – was the Paramatta Vehicle Services Mitsubishi Lancer EVO X driven by Hadrian Morrall and Tyler Mecklem.

In 25th outright was the crew that topped class B2, the #40 Commodore Shop Cardiff VS SS Holden driven by James Herington, Author Tsovolos and Drew Russell.

Class C (Performance) is proving to be ultra-competitive as expected, just 0.6 seconds splitting first and second in the class as they locked out 28th and 29th in the session.

The #31 Osborne Motorsport Renault of Josh Haynes and Kaide Lehmann topped the class, chased hard by the #89 BMW 135i driven by Jake Williams and co-driver David Krusza.

Class D was even closer: young-guns Tom Sargent and Lachlan Mineeff (Toyota 86) edging out the Bargwanna family Racing Volkswagen of Ben and Jude Bargwanna by just 0.1 seconds, in 39th and 40th position outright.

The Road to Bathurst Mazda 3 SP 25 completed as sweep of setting the practice pace today, Brianna Wilson, Jake Lougher and Philip Alexander topping both sessions today.

The session was interrupted after 37 minutes of running with the first and only red flag of the day, the #23 HSV Commodore driven by Antonio Astuti stopping on the circuit with a gearbox oil leak.

The car, shared by Astuti, Michael James and Ryan Suhle, had earlier battled issues in the opening session restricting them to just a handful of laps before the issues re-emerged later in the day.

The highest profile car to strike dramas today was the #8 Car Mods Australia BMW M4 of Bradley Car and Tim Slade, with the car sitting out almost all of the 120 minutes of running today with electrical issues causing them ongoing grief.

The car failed to complete a single lap in practice one, before emerging for the second session – only to stop on the run up the hill.

While it was re-fired and limped slowly back to pit lane, the crew ultimately completed just three slow laps today.

The #11 Subaru BRZ to be driven by Kiwi’s Mitch Maddren, Matthew Payne and Murray Dowsett failed to complete a lap in practice two, ensuring 59 of the 60 cars completed laps in the session.

The Hi-Tec Oils Bathurst 6 Hour field returns for a third and final 40-minute practice session at 8:15am on Saturday morning, prior to a pair of 20-minute sessions (for the slowest and then fastest halves of the grid) to set the grid for the Easter Sunday endurance classic.

Click here for the Saturday schedule.