New Zealand’s Shane Van Gisbergen will start tomorrow’s Bathurst 1000 in pole position after setting the fastest time in the top 10 shootout.Second last to go in the thrilling one-lap time trial, Van Gisbergen tore around the track, driving to his and the car’s limits to set himself up with the best possible chance of winning the biggest motor race in Australasia.
“That was pretty cool,” an elated Van Gisbergen said aftewards.
“Pole at Bathurst is awesome and it’s something you dream about. I watched the lap of the gods (Greg Murphy’s previous lap record from 2003) before I got in the car and I got a little pumped up.
“It was a clean lap and I’d seen what everyone was doing times wise and then saw on my out-lap that the track was pretty dirty and slippery, but I knew what the time was and what I had to do.”
Second fastest was Mark Winterbottom in his Ford and third was another Kiwi, Scott McLaughlin.
The Christchurch-born Volvo driver said he was disappointed not to get pole, but happy enough to start the race on the second row.
“I want pole at Bathurst as much as anyone else does, but I think I was a bit more on the conservative side and our car probably wasn’t the best,” he said.
“This is the first track we’ve gone to this year where we have a good race car instead of qualifying car and I hope that everything we’ve learnt over the practice sessions pays off.”
For a while Greg Murphy and James Courtney thought they might be taking part in the shootout even though their car was 11th fastest in qualifying.
In the morning’s practice session Warren Luff, in the HRT Holden, had a spectacular crash after his brake pedal stopped working. He smashed into the back of Craig Lowndes’ car before his vehicle flipped onto its side.
Lowndes’ mechanics managed to patch up his car in time for the shootout, but it was game over for Luff and his teammate Garth Tander.
With them out, the decision was made to include Murphy and Courtney in the top 10, but Red Bull Racing protested and won, resulting in a top nine shootout.
Lowndes was first out and did a time of two minutes 7.73 seconds which was clearly not going to be fast enough for pole.
However, it was faster than James Moffat did in his Nissan and Jack Perkins in a Ford, but Jason Bright did a better lap of 2:07.074, although the next car on the track, McLaughlin, went 0.3s quicker.
Winterbottom was quicker again to take provisional pole but then Van Gisbergen threw his car all over the track for an even faster time of 2:06.326.
The last driver to go was fellow Kiwi Fabian Coulthard, who managed a time of 2:07.056 for the fifth fastest time after a couple of small errors cost him.
TOP 9 GRID POSITIONS FOR SUNDAY’S BATHURST 1000
Shane van Gisbergen (Holden) – 2:06.3267
Mark Winterbottom (Ford) – 2:06.6389
Scott McLaughlin (Volvo) – 2:06.7782
Jason Bright (Holden) – 2:07.0431
Fabian Coulthard (Holden) – 2:07.0568
Craig Lowndes (Holden) – 2:07.7304
James Moffat (Nissan) – 2:07.7453
Dale Wood (Holden) – 2:07.9923
Jack Perkins (Ford) – 2:08.2498