We are at the Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hours this weekend and here we take a look at the drivers and a small qualifying recap.
The ex-Grand Am Mazda RX8s have proven a popular addition screaming down the straights. They don’t have the pace of the other I Class cars though.
Alex MacDowall has been rapid in the Craft Bamboo Aston Martin. The #97 has had a relatively untroubled run so far, and qualified well within the top 10.
MARC Cars have had a good weekend with the Focus model. Debutant driver and Australian F3 front runner, Ben Gersekowski has been setting impressive times
Matt Campbell ran with the Fiat Abarth squad last year. This year he is back in a GT3 class Porsche, setting the fastest times in AMAK car.
There is always a lot of love in pitlane here at the B12Hr and Flying B’s Peter Edwards is on the receiving end of that emotion
THEY NEVER really went away, but there’s no doubt that Audi are properly back in contention for the Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour this year.
Works driver Laurens Vanthoor stunned Mount Panorama today, pushing his No. 15 Audi R8 LMS Ultra to a brilliant 2m02.5521s lap and the Allan Simonsen Pole position trophy in a thrilling 20-minute pole shootout held in near perfect conditions this afternoon.
He will share his car with Italian GT ace Marco Mapelli and former F1 driver Markus Winkelhock – but today the Mountain was the 23-year-old Belgian drivers playground as he set the fastest ever officially recorded lap of the 6.213km circuit.
After a subdued performance last year where the cars rarely looked like contending for the outright victory, today’s performance has clearly re-established the most successful brand in Bathurst’s GT era.
Five brands ended qualifying in the top five with Lamborghini, Nissan, Ferrari and Aston Martin next on the grid for tomorrow’s race.
JBS Racing driver David Russell led the early running in the final qualifying session and for a time his impressive 2m03.1751s lap looked to be unsurmountable – at least until Vanthoor’s stunning lap towards the end of qualifying.
Russell and co-drivers Steve Owen and Roger Lago will start tomorrow’s race from the front row in the best ever qualifying performance from a Lamborghini in B12Hr history.
The contrast in the front row is notable with the works powerhouse Phoenix Racing team from Germany to line-up alongside the tiny part-time Lamborghini team from Brisbane’s inner suburbs in Queensland.
The factory-backed Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3 will start third thanks to an impressive time from young Japanese star Katsumasa Chiyo – though his efforts ended soon after setting his 2m03.2974s lap when he made contact with the Cutting wall.
Chiyo lost the rear of the GT-R mid-corner and touched the concrete barrier, limping back to pit lane where the car remained for the final 10-minutes of the session.
By Sam Tickell, with press materials. February 2015
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