16 April 2022 | General

The keys to Bathurst 6 Hour qualifying

QUALIFYING for the Hi-Tec Oils Bathurst 6 Hour forms an important part of the race weekend, for more reasons than just grabbing the glory of a Bathurst pole position – be it outright or in the class battle. 

In a large, multi-class field qualifying towards the pointy-end means the opening lap rush towards turn one becomes a decidedly safer than being mid pack or at the back.

Much like in the race results, BMW have never been beaten in Bathurst 6 Hour qualifying, having scored the outright pole position in each of the five previous races held.

In fact, BMWs have locked out the front row of the grid in four of the five editions of the event held – the only time a non-BMW got onto the front row was thanks to Jordan Cox’s heroics aboard a Mitsubishi Lancer Evo in 2019.

It’s also been a topic of controversy: In 2016 Nathan Morcom and Chaz Mostert had qualified fastest however were penalised 10 grid positions for a turbo boost infringement aboard their BMW 335i Turbo during the session – relegating them to 11th and Beric Lynton / Tim Leahey to pole.

It didn’t change the result though, the BMW charging through the field to win the race anyway.

Beric Lynton and Tim Leahey starting at or near the front has been a staple of the 6-Hour, their longstanding relationship also the most consistent in race history.

Pole in 2016 was matched in 2018 and 2019, the 2018 edition seeing an all-time Production Car lap record time at Bathurst of 2m22.904s set by Tim Leahey during the qualifying session.

They also started sixth in 2017 and third in 2021 to complete their sweep of never having started a Bathurst enduro off the front row.

Shane van Gisbergen’s pole lap last year was also the closest pole-winning margin in B6HR history – 0.032s. The largest occurred the year prior, when Tim Leahey was a full 3.048s faster than Jordan Cox’ in a dominant qualifying performance.

In the classes, Supercars ace Todd Hazelwood still holds the Class C qualifying record – his 2m35.240s best coming in 2016 aboard a BMW 130i he would share with a future race winner, Rob Rubis.

Toyota 86s have scored the Class D pole on three out of five occasions, and also hold the class record time of 2m39.55s set in 2019 by David Baker.

As for the fastest lap recorded by a V8-powered, rear wheel drive Ford or Holden on the Mountain? That’d be the Ford Falcon GT-F driven by Jeremy Gray and Jason Gomersall in qualifying for the 2017 race; their 2m27.776s best only just eclipsing the best lap set by George Miedecke in his Mustang last year.

Qualifying will take place at 4:05pm this afternoon, split into two sessions for the bottom 50% and then the top 50% of the field.

Live, ad-break free coverage will be broadcast on Stan Sport and Motorsport.TV.