Bathurst Qualifying Top Ten Shootout

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Jamie Whincup driver of the #88 Red Bull Racing Australia Holden celebrates with team mate Paul Dumbrell after taking pole position for the Bathurst 1000, which is race 21 of the Supercars Championship at Mount Panorama on October 8, 2016 in Bathurst, Australia.

With the Bathurst 1000 race about to be held, qualifying was held this afternoon. A high-point for all the race engineers and crews, who focus on gaining every meter of speed from their machinery. The Top Ten Shootout determines who leads out the race Sunday morning, but it was much a competition ‘within a race’.

Qualifying for the SuperCheap Autos Bathurst 1000 began on Thursday, with preparations in place since Tuesday. Practice #1 was for all drivers, as the event was scheduled so that there were ‘open qualifying sessions’ as well as Driver and Co-Driver sessions. The following two days saw six sessions that culminated in a provisional result–and the top ten cars invited to compete in the Armor All ‘shootout’.

The early pace was set by Red Bull Racing Australia, and as each lap was laid down, more grip was added to the surface, the pace quickened. Jamie Whincup, and his co-driver Paul Dumbrel have been fast since the Commodore rolled off the Truck. Every other side are in awe of their ability to hit the track ‘rolling’.

His Bathurst winning team mate Craig Lowndes had the complete opposite, with no pace or consistency. And that is the difficulty–the same team [Triple Eight Racing] and each car performs in dramatically different ways.

Top Ten Shootout

The form guide had reinforced much of the pre-race predictions. The Virgin Australia Supercars Championship leading drivers each [mainly] performed. The Volvo of Scott McLaughlin held up the V60 flag, with the Nissan also fairing well.

Dressed in the colours of the 1991 winning Godzilla Skyline, Michael Caruso has peaked at the right time. He was among a talented group to compete for the coveted Pole Position, which ultimately went to the multi-series Champion, Jamie Whincup.

The Top Ten Shootout drivers wereGarth Tander, Scott Pye, Mark Winterbottom, Shane van Gisbergen, Fabian Coulthard, Chaz Mostert, Tim Slade, Caruso, McLauglin and Whincup.

“What a blast. There is this rumour getting around that you can’t win from pole but this is the best spot to start the race. We will have a good sleep tonight and have a run tomorrow.”

THE GRID — 2016 Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000

ROW 1

1ST — (88) Jamie Whincup / Paul Dumbrell
Red Bull Racing Australia, Holden Commodore VF

2ND — (33) Scott McLaughlin / David Wall
Garry Rogers Motorsport, Volvo S60

ROW 2

3RD — (55) Chaz Mostert / Steve Owen
Prodrive Racing Australia, Ford Falcon FG X

4TH — (12) Fabian Coulthard / Luke Youlden
DJR Team Penske, Ford Falcon FG X

ROW 3

5TH — (14) Tim Slade / Ash Walsh
Brad Jones Racing, Holden Commodore VF

6TH — (23) Michael Caruso / Dean Fiore
Nissan Motorsport, Nissan Altima

ROW 4

7TH — (97) Shane van Gisbergen / Alexander Premat
Red Bull Racing Australia, Holden Commodore VF

8TH — (2) Garth Tander / Warren Luff
Holden Racing Team, Holden Commodore VF

ROW 5

9TH — (17) Scott Pye / Tony D’Alberto
DJR Team Penske, Ford Falcon FG X

10TH — (1) Mark Winterbottom / Dean Canto
Prodrive Racing Australia, Ford Falcon FG X

ROW 6

11TH — (8) Jason Bright / Andrew Jones
Brad Jones Racing, Holden Commodore VF

12TH — (111) Chris Pither / Richie Stanaway
Super Black Racing, Ford Falcon FG X

ROW 7

13TH — (6) Cam Waters / Jack Le Brocq
Prodrive Racing Australia, Ford Falcon FG X

14TH — (9) David Reynolds / Craig Baird
Erebus Motorsport, Holden Commodore VF

ROW 8

15TH — (18) Lee Holdsworth / Karl Reindler
Charlie Schwerkolt Racing, Holden Commodore VF

16TH — (22) James Courtney / Jack Perkins
Holden Racing Team, Holden Commodore VF

ROW 9

17TH — (19) Will Davison / Jonathon Webb
Tekno Autosports, Holden Commodore VF

18TH — (96) Dale Wood / David Russell
Nissan Motorsport, Nissan Altima

ROW 10

19TH — (7) Todd Kelly / Matt Campbell
Nissan Motorsport, Nissan Altima

20TH — (15) Rick Kelly / Russell Ingall
Nissan Motorsport, Nissan Altima

ROW 11

21ST — (888) Craig Lowndes / Steven Richards
TeamVortex, Holden Commodore VF

22ND — (222) Nick Percat / Cameron McConville
Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport, Holden Commodore VF

ROW 12

23RD — (34) James Moffat / James Golding
Garry Rogers Motorsport, Volvo S60

24TH — (21) Tim Blanchard / Macauley Jones
Brad Jones Racing, Holden Commodore VF

ROW 13

25TH — (3) Andre Heimgartner / Aaren Russell
Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport, Holden Commodore VF

26TH — (360) Simona De Silvestro / Renee Gracie
Harvey Norman Supergirls, Nissan Altima

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What to expect?

The 6.213km stretch of public road is synonymous with speed, but the control of drivers to stay off the walls is a fundamental. In the Shootout, Whincup appeared to touch the wall twice–do that repeatedly over 161 laps and your crew will be tearing their hair out.

Pressure will be on the lead drivers to complete the opening stint with the car intact. Bring it in to the pits for stop number one, unbroken, no blemishes and near the top of the field = brilliant start.

The day begins early:

  • 8:15am: Supercars Warm Up (20 min)
  • 9:05am: Drivers’ parade
  • 10:05am: King of the Mountain Parade — tribute to Peter Brock
  • 11:10am: Bathurst 1000 race start

Technology brings benefits for all

As Bathurst has evolved, so too has the technology. From the days of manual notes, hand-held timing and cars leaving the pits with no communication, today it has changed exponentially. From the team telemetry, to race control being ‘live’ the fan experience has improved.

Today, you can download an app on your smart phone, and receive virtually the same information as the teams gain. Beside the mechanical developments, it is an audience based form of entertainment, and social media will play it’s part. Facebook has developed, where instant recognition and interaction happens across the globe. Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and more assists in both building a fanbase, and in marketing.

Immediate weather and track condition reporting

Tomorrow, weather is going to play a part. That is a certainty–if it stays dry, the race could end in record time. If cloudy, then if can aid the comfort levels of drivers, as track and cabin temperatures are lowered. If windy, that can create issues with car-control but the danger lies in rain.

Mount Panorama creates it’s own micro-climate, where it can rain up at ‘The Cutting’ but not at ‘The Chase’. The fastest corner in Australian motorsport, nearing the chase at 300 kmph, grip is essential.

Rain can play games with strategy and could create carnage. In 1992, it turned into an water slide. If that, or similar affected the race, then someone like James Moffat; qualifying in 23rd position may have the same chances as 3rd placed Chaz Mostert.

After the Top Ten Shootout concluded, the race is now only a number of hours away. Holden captured yet another pole position, but Volvo is there and a couple of Fords are close behind. The intrigue is building steadily.

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