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2019 BATHURST 1000 PREVIEW – PART 2

Welcome to Part 2 of The Race Torque’s ultimate Bathurst 1000 preview!

This time we’re taking a look at the Top-10 Shootout on Saturday and other broader elements around The Great Race worth discussing. Our expert panel also takes a stab at predicting what will pop up in our post-event Power Rankings!

READ PART 1 HERE.

CRAILL: McLaughlin, obviously. By a margin. A second? No.. but 0.5 perhaps.  
WALKER: Scott McLaughlin
PERKINS: McLaughlin
O’BRIEN: The Giz
SCHIBECI: #17 Scott McLaughlin
HOLDSWORTH: McLaughlin 
RODGERS: #17 Scott McLaughlin
NEYLON: If it’s dry – McLaughlin. If it’s wet – Mostert.
Le BROCQ: Scotty Mac, he’s going well.
RUST: Scott McLaughlin. He is driving on another level this year and we know how good that Mustang and the Shell team is. You watch him hustle the #17 on Saturday.

VERDICT: O’Brien the only one to back anyone other than Scott McLaughlin. Red Faces in the TRT camp if it’s someone else, then! Like Neylon hedging his bets in case it is wet and Mostert a nice tip here.

CRAILL: 2:03.3269s
WALKER: 2:04.2322s
PERKINS: 2:03.6745s
O’BRIEN: 2:01.8978s
SCHIBECI: 2:03.4567s
HOLDSWORTH: 2:03.5641s
RODGERS: 2:02.4577s
NEYLON: 2:03.5773s (if it’s dry!)
Le BROCQ: 2:03.7000s
RUST: 2:04.0177s

VERDICT: If it’s dry, low threes are the predictions. If they get anywhere near O’Brien’s prediction it’ll be Lap of the Gods Mark. III. No one tipped a wet lap time so if it rains we’ll all be miles off.

CRAILL: I’m backing young Todd Hazelwood to make the TTSO. Done it twice already this year at tough, demanding circuits..
WALKER: Andre Heimgartner
PERKINS: I don’t believe there will be any surprises in the shootout. I’d expect all 6 Mustangs in the top 10, 2 x RBHRT, Erebus x 2! Hopefully both WAU cars can get in there of course! Percat, Slade, and Heimgartner could all make it. A surprise addition would be Simona or Macauley Jones but I’m not predicting that!
O’BRIEN: Hazelwood
SCHIBECI: Lee Holdsworth
HOLDSWORTH: Heimgartner 
RODGERS: #5 Lee Holdsworth
NEYLON: Todd Hazelwood to make the show
Le BROCQ: Me, I’d be super stoked! There haven’t been many Nissans in there lately, so let’s lock in Andre. 
RUST: In 2018 it was Anton de Pasquale and while it probably won’t be a surprise to see him in the shootout again this year I think it will underscore how much talent he has. Anton’s stepped it up this season with podium appearances and it will be good to see a rising star among the shootout regulars.

VERDICT: Lots of love for Andre to make the shootout, but that wouldn’t be that surprising given his excellent 2019 form, would it? Hazelwood a decent bet to make the ten and backed by plenty. Schibeci playing it safe and backing a Mustang.. while Perkins backed all six of them! P.S, Jack, We’d love to see you in it too.

CRAILL: The massive TCM + New Zealand Muscle Cars grid will be pretty spectacular. A perfect Great Race warm-up on Sunday Morning.
WALKER: Sitting in punterville on the hill at the Chase for the shootout at The Race Torque’s AGM, also Sunday night Chinese is an annual highlight.
PERKINS: Dunlop Super2 250km race is becoming a great race as a prelude to the shootout. This year should be another cracking race.
O’BRIEN: TCM with Kiwis!
SCHIBECI: PPCCA – Second last round of Carrera Cup and Team Mates Dale Wood and Jordan Love will be going hard for an advantage in the championship heading into the Gold Coast final.
HOLDSWORTH: Arriving in Bathurst and driving round the mountain.
RODGERS: Parma’s and Beer in town!
NEYLON: The Sunday morning Carrera Cup race will be a belter, don’t miss it.
Le BROCQ: I really enjoy the driver’s parades, both the Wednesday one through town and the Sunday morning one around the track. There’s always a good vibe around the top of the Mountain, even if there are a few sore heads!
RUST: The crowd at the top of the Mountain sharing a beer with the TV reporter dispatched to do a live cross among the fans on the warm-up lap. The atmosphere is unlike anything else up there. They are great people and (although we didn’t show it) I shared a beer with them in 2016 & ’17 before bolting back to pit lane. Had to be done! (true story)  

VERDICT: Is JLB the first driver to admit he likes a drivers parade? An excellent tip. Supports getting lots of love: 86s, Carrera Cup and TCM always put on a show on the Mountain. Perkins voted for a race he’s in, which is absolutely fair, while Holdsworth nails the key moment when you first get to the place. Rusty’s beers on the warm-up lap sounds bloody good, while the Sunday night Chinese debrief is always a highlight, too. Invite only, thanks.

CRAILL: Someone in the media will ask the question after Practice 1, surely, so it’ll be about 11am on Thursday morning
WALKER: This is indeed the million dollar question… the potential wet build up might defer the conversation until post-race.
PERKINS: Unfortunately it was a subject after the first race and will be a subject around the 2019 season for years to come. I think they’ve made some solid improvements with the last round of changes, so hopefully that creates a wide open Bathurst 1000.
O’BRIEN: The slowest Ford team
SCHIBECI: Nissan. “Massive Disadvantage”
HOLDSWORTH: Reynolds!
RODGERS: A battle between Ryan Story on the Ford side and Mark Dutton on the Holden side. Whichever is getting smoked.
NEYLON: A journalist in the 11:30am Thursday team owners press conference. Not doing their job otherwise!
Le BROCQ: Who knows… I don’t need to get involved, it’s already out of control without me!
RUST: Fans on social media. Sorry guys but you know I’m BIG on making socials a place for healthy debate/discussion and NOT for hateful exchanges. Let’s enjoy Bathurst…..we’re better than that!

VERDICT: It’s inevitable. Perkins optimistic that they’ve gone a long way to sorting it, while Holdsworth reckons the complaint will come from the Penrite camp, somewhat tongue-in-cheek, we suspect. Schibeci nominated this before we knew about the latest parity tweak to the Altima, but it sticks. Rusty probably nails it though.

CRAILL: Last year’s 206,000 was the second biggest on record. Not sure this years will be quite so big, but I’m going to say that 201,887 will be there over the four days.
WALKER: Bigger, 209,000, new camp ground down Conrod will be chockers.
PERKINS: Hopefully its above 200,000
O’BRIEN: 215,000 or there abouts
SCHIBECI: Smaller – 202,764
HOLDSWORTH: Bigger
RODGERS: Smaller – 204,500
NEYLON: 185,000. The CL farewell tour ramped the number up last year.
Le BROCQ: 215,000, everyone is getting excited this year
RUST: Smaller. Everything in the financial market points toward a looming recession in Australia and I think that will effect the corporate dollar and consumer spending choices. People are tightening the purse strings. That said I’ve already heard from fans coming from NZ and the UK. This race is truly special. 180,000.

VERDICT: Any way you look at it, it’s a lot of people. Crowds have been decent this year – will the return of the Mustang to the Mountain bring more people out?

Catch up on previous editions of The Race Torque’s Power Rankings by clicking here.

CRAILL: HOT: We’ll yet again (we do it every year) marvel at how amazing the camping at Mount Panorama is, and how it gets bigger every year. NOT: I have a feeling that we’ll be ‘notting’ the latest start time in race history. Great for TV, but makes a long day longer, especially if the race is brutal and runs for 7 hours and we finish in twilight.. Imagine the outcry if it gets called because it’s too dark?
WALKER: HOT: de Pasquale/Brown, NOT: Trade at the Cobblestone Lane Restaurant to be well down, with no CAMS affiliated officials in sight.
PERKINS: HOT: SVG/GT NOT: No Sandown 500 before Bathurst
O’BRIEN: HOT: the race pace NOT: double stacking
SCHIBECI: HOT: The weather. A wet Thursday, Friday and Saturday will make life very tough for the teams on a dry Sunday. NOT: Weather – Stuffed up any chance we had of a great race.
HOLDSWORTH: HOT: Tickford. NOT: weather 
RODGERS: HOT: Last stanza battle after the obligatory late race Safety Car. 10 – 15 lap sprint to the flag. NOT: WAU – it continues..
NEYLON: HOT: Toyota 86 Racing Series. If they stay SC free it will be on! NOT: Practice sessions, 7 is too many.
Le BROCQ: HOT: Parity being a non-issue, and there being a close finish with three or four cars going for it. NOT: too much rain, we don’t want rain!
RUST: HOT: Anton de Pasquale and Will Brown – watch the impression these young blokes make right across the weekend. NOT: Knowing it’s a year to wait until we do it all again… Thank goodness for the 12-hour!

VERCICT: So many different answers mean you need to favourite ‘TheRaceTorque.com’ now and make sure you’re reading at about 5pm Tuesday night. It’ll be a bumper power rankings, for sure.