THE quickest lap in one-make Porsche history at Mount Panorama has delivered Aaron Love pole position for the seventh round of the Porsche Paynter Dixon Carrera Cup Australia Championship, at the Repco Bathurst 1000.
In what turned out to be a dramatic 10-minute dash for pole position, Love flew to the top spot with a 2m05.3525s lap late on Thursday afternoon – and he could have gone quicker had it not been for late traffic on his final flyer.
He secured his fourth career TAG Heuer Pole Position award and continued his remarkable charge from nowhere into title contention with two rounds and six races remaining.
Geoff Emery scored the Morris Pro-Am pole position and ran among the top-10 quickest Pros for much of the session, continuing that pulsating Carrera Cup race within a race.
The session was held in gloomy yet thankfully dry conditions, setting up a thrilling shootout from a field yet to experience the Type-992 GT3 Cup Car in dry conditions on the Mountain.
The earlier, sole 50-minute practice sessions was held in the rain, levelling the playing field for qualifying.
The session had barely started before the red flag flew, Max Vidau stuck in the gravel at Turn 1 having locked his inside front on the run into Hell corner.
Once the recovery was complete just 10 minutes remained on the clock setting up a shootout for pole.
David Russell was quick early, as was Harri Jones – driving a repaired McElrea entry following a crash at the Cutting in practice earlier in the day.
Dylan O’Keeffe then spent time on top of the charts before Love struck first with a 2m06.0s best – already the quickest ever Cup Car lap of Bathurst.
He then improved a further seven-tenths on the following tour to put the result out of doubt – and was set to improve again on his final flyer before traffic slowed him across the top.
His 2m05.3525s best stands as the quickest one-make Porsche lap in Bathurst history, finally eclipsing Jaxon Evans’ existing record of 2m06.2285, set in 2018.
O’Keeffe pushed hard on his final flyer and was able to close the margin to Love, however still ended 0.6 seconds behind in second position.
Dale Wood was a late improver, charging his Timken / EBM car to third position at the very end of the session.
He displaced championship leader Jones, who had held third but will start race one from the outside of the second row on Friday.
Vidau rebounded superbly from his earlier off to qualify his car fifth, just ahead of Christian Pancione, while Jackson Walls, Nick McBride, Simon Fallon and David Russell completed the top-10.
Big names to miss the top-10 include championship contender David Wall, who could only manage 15th overall in his Wall Racing machine.
Emery took a commanding pole position in Morris Pro-Am, the fifth of his career in the championship.
His 2m08.1544s best saw him a comfortable margin ahead of Pro-Am rival Sam Shahin, with Adrian Flack third in class.
Liam Talbot was fourth and Dean Cook – who is second in the championship heading into the Bathurst round – fifth.
The Porsche Paynter Dixon Carrera Cup Australia field will race for the 399th time tomorrow, ahead of their milestone 400th race on Saturday.
Tomorrow’s race, set to start at 2:15om local time, will be live on Fox Sports, Kayo Sports and Channel 7 around Australia.
Aaron Love, Pro:
“Pretty difficult session but I’m really happy with it. It was the first time in this car, at this track, but it was the same for everybody. It was a case of learning the track and seeing what this car can do, but then it started raining a little bit and just threw another curve ball at us.
“But just really happy we can come away with pole, but also learn a lot about the car in the process and have no scratches on it, so I’m pretty stoked.”
Geoff Emery, Morris Pro Am:
“The session started off dry, but toward the end there it was starting to get a bit wet over the top.
“So once the tyres were up, it was just a matter of committing to it and finding a clean lap. We had a clear gap after the restart and I was able to concentrate on my own lap and not have to worry about anyone trying to pass me, in the end it was really good lap.”