BATHURST, New South Wales, Australia — Scott McLaughlin’s magic weekend on Mount Panorama continued on Saturday, as he won the Armor All Pole for Sunday’s Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000. McLaughlin pushed his Shell V-Power Racing Falcon to the max to set a 2:03.831.
“I saw the time, oh my god, I’m over the moon,” McLaughlin said. “To everyone at Shell V-Power, my god, to the fans, I could hear you guys, it was crazy. It was the most incredible moment of my life.”
The big story was the increasing speed of the cars, especially Scott McLaughlin’s Ford. Everyone wondered if drivers could get into the 2:03s, as speeds increased from the first practice to Friday’s qualifying.
Garth Tander went first for Garry Rogers Motorsport. The 2007 Champion drove a consistent lap for a 2:05.326, and will start ninth on Sunday.
Jason Bright was the next up in his Mega Fuels-sponsored Britek Motorsport/Prodrive Racing Australia Falcon. Bright was faster by a tenth through sector one, more than half a tenth through sector two, and went faster with a 2:05.227, good enough for eighth.
James Courtney went third in the Boost Mobile Walkinshaw Racing Holden. He locked up heading into Griffins Bend, and was down into sector one, down only slightly into sector two. He locked up slightly into The Chase and finshed with a 2:05.489, slower than both Bright and Tander.
Shane Van Gisbergen was fourth in the Red Bull Holden. The Kiwi struggled in practice and qualifying, but drove a clean, strong lap to record a 2:04.668, good enough to start fifth.
Fabian Coulthard rounded out the first five in his Shell V-Power Falcon. He lost time in the first sector as he locked up and understeered on the way into the Tyrepower Cutting, got too much kerb through The Dipper, but yet was able to be the second driver in the 2:04s with a 2:04.969.
Mark Winterbottom came out as the sixth runner in his Bottle-O Falcon. Frosty was up in the first sector by three-tenths, kept it clean in the second but lost two-tenths in it. Winterbottom crossed the line with a 2:04.449 for provisional pole.
Cameron Waters was next in the Monster Energy Falcon for Prodrive Racing Australia. The Sandown winner was a quarter-second down on Winterbottom in sector one, three-tenths down in sector two, and managed a 2:04.680 to start sixth.
Chaz Mostert came out as the eighth runner in the Supercheap Auto Falcon. He clawed back time to Winterbottom throughout the lap,and was under a tenth slower than Winterbottom with a 2:04.587.
David Reynolds was the penultimate runner in his Erebus Commodore. He was up on Winterbottom in the first sector, and a clean finish to the lap netted him provisional pole with a 2:04.274.
McLaughlin was the final runner in his DJR Team Penske Ford, and based on his start to the weekend, he was a real threat for pole. He was faster through sector one than Reynolds, but went a bit off-road at McPhillamy Park, but yet was up three-tenths through Forrest’s Elbow. He got through The Chase and Murray’s cleanly to get into the magic time.
The fans went crazy and the DJR Team Penske garage was a madhouse with the time. McLaughlin was a almost speechless about the time in the car after the lap, having achieved a life-long dream.
“I’ve dreamt of doing this since I was a kid,” he said.
Top Ten Shootout Result
1. Scott McLaughlin
2. David Reynolds
3. Mark Winterbottom
4. Chaz Mostert
5. Shane Van Gisbergen
6. Cameron Waters
7. Fabian Coulthard
8. Jason Bright
9. Garth Tander
10. James Courtney