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WHAT WE LEARNED + SATURDAY HOT / NOT

A CLASSIC BATHURST Shootout delivered pole position to the fastest car and delight for Ford Fans. Here’s our rundown of a Super – rain free – Saturday on the Mountain plus the daily dose of Hot, Not and, indeed, What..

WORDS: Richard Craill
HOT / NOT COMPILE: Mark Walker
IMAGE: Mark Horsburgh / Supercars

FASTEST CAR DELIVERS

WHAT a sensational Top-10 Shootout and what a lap from Cameron Waters.

Quite often the fastest car of the Bathurst weekend isn’t the best car, but it would be hard to argue that the Monster Energy Ford isn’t absolutely an early favourite – if there is such a thing – for the 60th running of the Great Race.

Consistently quick throughout each of the practice sessions, armed with a gun and experienced co-driver and a Bathurst winner in Will Davison, Cameron Waters went and delivered on the one-lap dash to grab pole.

And he didn’t just grab pole, he smashed the man dominant in qualifying for most of the last three or four seasons.

His 2m03.5592 was 0.44 seconds quicker than Scott McLaughlin which just doesn’t normally happen.

So far Tickford have ticked all the boxes – but they’ve also self-sabotaged for the last several years so we will wait and see what version of the team we get tomorrow.

BIG GAINS

NICK PERCAT, outside of Cameron Waters, was the big winner today. First out in the top-10 runoff has to set the benchmark and his 2m04.24s best was a hell of a benchmark to set – especially with the ongoing threat of rain.

Percat, and Brad Jones Racing, has been in superb form this season and the fact Tom Randle won in Super2, and the team earlier claimed the Pirtek Pit Stop contest, will give them oodles of confidence tomorrow.

Similarly, Chaz Mostert was again a star in the revitalised Walkinshaw Andretti United outfit. Coupled with Warren Luff, who has five Bathurst podiums in the last eight years, the pair look strong from third. Luff was strong in the co-driver only sessions with good one-lap pace and solid consistency so if WAU execute well there’s no doubt they are a strong package.

Also, how interesting that Chaz Mostert should line up directly behind his old mate Cam Waters..

Sixth for Holdsworth was a solid return from provisional pole and validates Tickfords pace, while Triple Eight’s one-lap issues were strange but, as we’ll detail next, their race pace looks outstanding.

THE WEATHER WILL DO ANYTHING..

OR WILL IT? BATHURST, you old tease you. After being a cruel (or kind, depends on your outlook) temptress at the 12-Hour earlier this year, the Mountain spent most of Saturday chucking up it’s will it – won’t it rain scenario, only to fall in the latter camp.

Nick Percat, and probably James Courtney, were the only people keen to see if rain in the shootout. We’re glad it stayed dry – and didn’t it deliver.

Tomorrow? Who knows. The risk of rain, and the amount of precipitation attached to that risk, has decreased significantly since yesterday but Bathurst being Bathurst… we just don’t know.

CONSISTENT CO DRIVERS

WE SPENT some time charting the performances of the co-drivers putting in race runs during the seventh and final practice session earlier today – and there were some key standouts.

Garth Tander, of course, was the best. He was the only driver to complete what was essentially a full race stint which, at 20 laps, isn’t far away from the 24-25 that they’ll do on a tank of fuel on Sunday.

The three-time Great Race winner was immense across the run and if you’re the opposition, produced some scary consistent numbers that prove not only the one-lap pace of the Red Bull HRT Commodores, but their race pace too.

Against a best of 2m07.175s, Tander’s 20-lap run averaged 2m07.691s.

And don’t bother doing the maths: that’s only an 0.516s difference from fastest to average across the entire run.

While the weather is likely to change, either way the #97 is immense over a stint and that’s likely to be duplicated regardless of driver aboard.

Meanwhile, at 17 years and 364 days old, teenager Broc Feeney might be one of the youngest ever to tackle the Great Race, but his lack of experience hasn’t been a hinderance so far.

An eight-lap stint in the session saw him log a best lap of 2m07.847s and an average across the run of 2m08.044 – an impressive level of consistency for someone so young inexperienced.

Of the full-timers; Jack Smith deserved credit for his 12-lap run. His average of 2m09.251s compared well with the stint best of 2m08.618s.

Scott Pye was even closer to his fastest lap: a 10-lap practice run saw him log a 2m06.798s best against his 2m07.294s average across the run. Of course, Pye has been the king of moving forward in races this year so that race pace is not a shock.

If he passes as many cars in a six-hours plus race as he has in the shorter sprints of the season so far, the DeWalt car will win by about three laps..

HOT / NOT / WHAT

HOT

1. CAM WATERS

POLE position. Has been the benchmark all week long, and with Will Davison riding shotgun, they are an in-form A-grade combo.

2. SCOTT McLAUGHLIN

WHO needs rear downforce anyways? Clean and neat and fast, game on tomorrow.

3. CHAZ MOSTERT

HUGE lap, blue hair and all. How about that slide through McPhillamy Park? Chaz has the eyes on this weekend.

4. NICK PERCAT

MASSIVE commitment being the first out on the track, followed up with some sharp banter on the cool down lap.

5. HOLDEN TRIBUTE

WHILE COVID-19 has upset some of the celebrations far farewelling Holden this year, it was still nice to see these three classics wheeled out for a demo lap – Mark Skaife in the Brock VK, Ford engine builder Todd Kelly in the 427 Monaro, and Craig Lowndes in the old school Monaro. Check out below for how this nearly came unstuck…

6. WAREN LUFF

HE doesn’t get a lot of miles behind the wheel of a race car, but keeping sharp at his day job driving stunt cars is all he needs. Topped the co-driver session, and has been sharp all weekend. Five podium finishes in his last six race starts in the 1000, could this be the year he and Chaz Mostert climb to the top step?

7. LEX KELLY IS BACK!

WE’RE not into breaking news here at The Race Torque, but outside of a driver snogging a cricketer’s ex-wife earlier in the weekend, this is the biggest news to come from Mount Panorama so far.

8. THOMAS RANDLE

STOUT job to win the Super2 race, and the Series (?). Big day tomorrow lining up alongside Nick Percat, a huge comeback from where he was at the start of the year.

9. THE TV INTROS

IF THE intros to the telecast, before the shootout, and all of the other montages throughout the broadcast have been ace. Written and produced by Supercars Media senior producer David Tunnicliffe and edited by New York-based Aussie editor Sam Angus, if they don’t get you fired up for the given session they represent, we recommend you seek medical advice and have your pulse checked.

10. GOOD EARLY TV FIGURES

DESPITE many viewers migrating to Kayo, and the Kayo numbers not included in the official stats, it’s bodes well that Supercars on a school day rated well. It also helps having around 46,000 extra fans sitting at home this year, who will also be tuning in for a spot of Lex Kelly tomorrow.

WHAT

1. EMBARGO BLUES

IN A year packed with embargos and oddly timed news releases, there appears to have been a level of miscommunication between Tickford Racing and the TV commentators…

SIMULTANEOUS HOT/NOT & WHAT

CL NEARLY FENCING THE MONARO

HOLD your breath Australia! This was easily the most terrifying moment of the weekend so far…

HOT – The save was hot, and the custodian of the car said it was hot, so it’s hot.

NOT – It scared the crap out of everyone watching, coast to coast. Code brown.

…and just a handful of what has to be thrown into the mix for good measure.

NOT

1. JAMIE DROPS IT

HE WAS absolutely on like Donkey King until running slightly wide at The Chase. Still, there’s 161 laps to make it up tomorrow, but you don’t want to be behind your teammates and have to double stack in the pits.

2. SUPER2.5 QUALIFYING

THAT was U.G.L.Y. Young blokes, cold tyres, you know how it goes…

Firstly, Broc Feeney went in hard in fairly typical fashion for the Esses.

Angelo Mouzouris next up said “hold my cordial”, and judging by the fact he had both rear wheels off the deck at Skyline, he was keen on a purple sector. Also judging by the lack of brake lights when the rear of the car came into view further down the hill, he was still keen to continue his lap, despite cutting the previous corner. Vicious hit, we’re glad he’s ok.

Declan Fraser completed the hat trick of red flag incidents in a messy session.

3. SHANE VAN GISBERGEN

REALLY difficult to not a 2:04.4511sec lap time, but like his teammate, he was looking very sharp until The Chase.

4. “FREE TO RACE”

THIS was a particularly tough corner for the Image Racing duo of Jordan Boys and Will Brown, who were running 1-2 at the before entering The Chase.

5. AIR TAPLIN

TOM Taplin’s tour through The Chase on the last lap of the second Tin Top race could have been much, much worse.

6. MECHANICAL ISSUES

WE have already seen a few mechanical dramas sneaking into play over the weekend, and also in other recent events. It has been a tough year on the road away from home base for a lot of teams, and still hectic for the Queensland based squads – it will be interesting to see how many cars get sent to the garage tomorrow.

7. THE REALITY OF 2020

WHILE this photo is standard Daniel Kalisz-spec and belongs in the hot section, it depicts the sad reality of 2020. Generations of fans have spent their annual holidays camped out in this area, this year they are all at home. Hopefully we will all be back trackside in the near future.

8. WHEN YOU LOSE LOCKWOOD AS SPONSOR

PROBABLY the softest not of all time – two of the BJR cars had problems keeping doors shut today during practice. In itself not a massive problem, but definitely not something you want repeated on race day.

TWEET

HI CHARLI!

WELL DONE MATT CHAHDA

COMING to a main game seat near you in 2021!

ALONGSIDE WALT DISNEY

PROS ARE PRO

HAPPY/SAD

DOUBLE PARKED, 2020 STYLE

THE BLOKES OF BATHURST