No Surprises At Bathurst

No Surprises At Bathurst

Everything ran true to form on the first day of Bathurst 2020.

Cam Waters translated his speedy recent pace in the Monster Mustang into P1 at the end of Thursday, with Scott McLaughlin next and then Shane van Gisbergen in the quickest of the Holdens.

Mustangs outnumbered Commodores 6-4 in the Top 10 as the first five cars all recorded laps in the 2 minute 4-second bracket.

Andre Heimgartner was the bolter, recording the fourth-fastest time in the NED Mustang while Jamie Whincup was only 16th but showing no signs of panic so early in the weekend.

No-one crashed, although Tim Slade has a quick spin in his early laps with the Shell V-Power Mustang and Craig Lowndes had to evacuate the Red Bull HRT Holden he is sharing with Jamie Whincup after a power steering problem sparked a fire.

“We tried a heap of stuff and not everything was faster but that’s what testing is all about. We got a heap of data, which is good,” Whincup reported.

“The end result is that we’re not the quickest at the moment, so we’ve still got work to do to try to refine our package and be as fast as we can.”

So Whincup and Lowndes are headed for a re-think overnight, while McLaughlin was smiling after a tiny mistake forced him to abort his quickest lap in the third practice session.

“We have been fast all day, but I just made a mistake there on that fast lap. We’re still chasing a bit of rear stability in the car, but overall I’m really stoked with how we’ve rolled out,” said the newly-minted triple Supercars champion.

“Tim has been awesome, he jumped straight in the seat today and hasn’t really driven this car since Tailem Bend. He was really fast, and that was his first go. It was a good day, and I think we are on for a good weekend.”

Even though it was only the start of the weekend, and he ran third, van Gisbergen is already looking at the weather forecast and the potential for rain on Sunday through The Great Race.

“There are some quick cars out there, so tomorrow will be an interesting day on track. Garth and I are pretty much on the same page; struggling with traction but that sort of fixed itself as soon as the rubber went down,” he said.

“But we’ll probably have to keep chasing that when it starts raining, so it will be a bit of a mixed bag but we’ll see.”

For Lowndes, who is chasing an eighth win in the Bathurst 1000, it was a mixed day – but a big change after his work this year as a pitlane reporter with Foxtel.

He said he missed the fans, despite the intensity of the action.

“Any time you can come to a place like Mount Panorama is always very special, but it feels a little deflated without the crowd and fans because they bring the atmosphere,” Lowndes said.

“The car feels nice. We had that one issue with the power steering pump, which we’ve rectified. The last session was really positive. I’m a lot more comfortable in the car, so we’ll keep working at it to find a little bit more time. My role is to help set up the racing package, I don’t need to worry about qualifying, so for me it’s great. I’ve only got half the job to do!”


1Cam WatersMustang 2:04.1696
2Scott McLaughlinMustang2:04.4633
3Shane van GisbergenCommodore2:04.4938
4Andre HeimgartnerMustang2:04.7407
5Nick PercatCommodore2:04.9925
6Fabian CoulthardMustang2:05.0730
7Lee HoldsworthMustang2:05.0966
8Anton de PasqualeCommodore2:05.1319
9James CourtneyMustang2:05.1430
10Bryce FullwoodCommodore2:05.1440