Ford Performance Racing’s Will Davison entered the history books by claiming pole position for the prestigious Bathurst 1000 which celebrates 50 years this weekend (4-7 October).
The session which pitted the Top 10 from Friday’s qualifying to decide the final 10 positions of the 29 car grid produced an almighty battle around the 6.2km circuit, but it was the Tradingpost FPR driver who took pole by four hundredths of a second from TeamVodafone’s Jamie Whincup to create a Ford/Holden front row.
A delighted Davison said: “It was a pleasant surprise to hang on to pole. However, it doesn’t mean anything in respect to the race. Of course it is something all the drivers want to achieve as pole at Bathurst is a big deal and a cool moment.”
Cool overcast conditions and drops of rain made the Top 10 qualifying a real step into the unknown after bright sunshine had dominated all the previous practice and qualifying sessions. The Bottle-O Racing Team’s David Reynolds was the first to tackle the Mountain, setting a competitive 2m08.8866s, but was soon beaten by Tim Slade in his Lucky 7 Racing Ford Falcon.
Last year’s winner Holden Racing Team’s Garth Tander was next to strike, beating Slade’s time by less than a tenth, before popular New Zealander Shane Van Gisbergen lit up the timing screens with a lap three-tenths faster. The SP Tools Racing driver’s time of 2m08.1791s proved to be healthy benchmark, as race favourite and five-time winner Craig Lowndes was unable to match it, setting a time only good enough for ninth for the TeamVodafone driver come the end of the session.
Davison’s moment on the Mountain came just seconds later as he produced a stunning 2m08.0693s lap in difficult conditions, which shot him to provisional pole. Team-mate Mark Winterbottom in the Orrcon Steel Racing FPR car was next follow but he was unable to make any inroads, taking fourth behind Van Gisbergen. Lockwood Racing’s Fabian Coulthard tried to recreate the magic he produced on Friday, but fell short of the target time too and will line up fifth.
This left Whincup as the only man to deny Davison pole and the TeamVodafone racer tried everything possible to grab pole, but in the end he had to settle for second. Tander, Slade, Reynolds, Lowndes and VIP Petfoods Steve Owen round out the top 10.
The Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 kicks off tomorrow at 10.30 AEDT (01.30am GMT) after a 20-minute warm-up session at 7.25am AEDT (10.25pm GMT).
Top 10 Shootout Results:
1. Will Davison/John McIntyre, #6 Tradingpost FPR Falcon, 2m08.0693s
2. Jamie Whincup/Paul Dumbrell, #1 TeamVodafone Commodore, 2m08.1008s
3. Shane van Gisbergen/Luke Youlden, #9 SP Tools Racing Falcon, 2m08.1791s
4. Mark Winterbottom/Steve Richards, #5 Orrcon Steel FPR Falcon, 2m08.1963s
5. Fabian Coulthard/David Besnard, #14 Lockwood Racing Commodore, 2m08.3385s
6. Garth Tander/Nick Percat, #2 Holden Racing Team Commodore, 2m08.4755s
7. Tim Slade/Andrew Thompson, #47 Lucky 7 Racing Falcon, 2m08.5995s
8. David Reynolds/Dean Canto, #52 The Bottle-O Team Racing Falcon, 2m08.8866s
9. Craig Lowndes/Warren Luff, #888 TeamVodafone Commodore, 2m09.0997s
10. Steve Owen/Paul Morris, #49 VIP Petfoods Falcon, 2m10.0723s