An incredible final sector helped Chaz Mostert beat fellow Audi driver Kelvin van der Linde to LIQUI MOLY Bathurst 12 Hour and Intercontinental GT Challenge Powered by Pirelli pole position, as well as the Allan Simonsen Trophy, at Mount Panorama earlier this evening (May 14).
The Coinspot R8 LMS Evo II GT3 had earlier qualified fastest for the Pole Shootout with Liam Talbot’s help but went head-to-head with the rest of the top-five following a late change to the session’s format.
Instead of the customary one-lap effort, qualifying’s fastest 10 entries were split equally between the five fastest and slowest cars, and permitted to complete as many laps as possible during their respective 15-minute session.
Any notion this might dampen Bathurst’s always exciting dash for P1 was quickly dispelled by Mostert, Van der Linde and Ricardo Feller who traded fastest laps at the start of the second session.
Mostert initially beat Feller but was toppled by Van der Linde next time around. Undeterred, the Supercars star hit back to reclaim provisional pole by 0.2s, which his South African rival and Melbourne Performance Centre garage-mate subsequently trimmed to half-a-tenth.
Then, with just over two minutes left on the clock, the Audi Sport Team Valvoline-entered R8 looked to have sealed the deal when Van der Linde lapped a tenth quicker despite failing to improve in sector one.
The first two sectors also looked to be Mostert’s undoing as the Australian – who also claimed pole for the Bathurst 1000 last December – began his final lap. But a mighty run through The Chase and into the final corner proved sufficient to turn a nine hundredths deficit into a 0.085s advantage at the line – the smallest winning margin in 12 Hour qualifying history.
His 2m02.493s, the fastest lap of the weekend so far, also made Mostert the first two-time recipient of the Allan Simonsen Trophy after he also triumphed for BMW in 2018.
Jules Gounon set his fastest times at the end of the second session to head up row two aboard SunEnergy1’s Mercedes-AMG. It was an impressive effort to beat Feller in Team Valvoline’s second factory-backed Audi given the manufacturer’s strong start to the weekend.
Another Mercedes-AMG starts right behind courtesy of Triple Eight’s Shane van Gisbergen who set fastest time in the first Pole Shootout session, while Lee Holdsworth completed the top-six in Hallmarc’s R8.
Grove Racing’s Porsche, driven by Ben Barker, lines up seventh – one place ahead of the best-placed GT3 Am entry of Duvashen Padayachee. Valmont’s Mercedes-AMG beat Wall Racing’s Lamborghini – which starts ninth – to fourth in the first session.
RAM Motorsport’s Mercedes-AMG was a surprise addition to the Pole Shootout’s second session given its Am status but dropped to 10th overall in the final classification.
This year’s LIQUI MOLY Bathurst 12 Hour stages the opening round of 2022’s Intercontinental GT Challenge Powered by Pirelli campaign on Sunday morning. The race begins at 05:15 AEST (GMT +10) and is live on SRO’s GT World YouTube channel. Fans in Australia and New Zealand can watch live via the Seven Network, Fox Sports, Kayo and Sky Sports NZ.
Source. SRO Motorsports Group