Fabian Coulthard obliterates lap record in qualifying at Bathurst
Brad Jones Racing’s Fabian Coulthard has taken both the all-time ad qualifying record for a V8 Supercar at the Bathurst 1000 in qualifying after setting a time of 2:05.6080, while Triple Eight’s Jamie Whincup and Rod Nash Racing’s David Reynolds will be forced to start from the last row of the grid after both crashing out.
The first realistic pole time was set by Mark Winterbottom in the Ford Performance Racing Falcon, with a time of 2:06.2556 set on his first run, three-tenths slower than he’d managed in the previous practice session, then leading the Brad Jones Racing Holden of Jason Bright and Volvo’s Scott McLaughlin at this point.
Pole favourite David Reynolds was an early casualty in qualifying, crashing out at the top of the mountain at The Grate just before the ten minute mark. The Rod Nash Racing driver was on his flying lap and was passing one of the Jack Daniel’s Nissans, which caught him off guard and he hit the outside wall with the front right, bouncing across and then hitting the inside wall with the rear of his Ford Falcon FG, coming to rest and bringing out the first red flag of the session.
Shortly after the session resumed, it was championship leader Jamie Whincup’s turn to run into drama. The five-time champion crashed out at The Cutting, losing the rear of his Holden Commodore as he turned in, ensuring he will start no higher than 25th for the race on Sunday.
After another red flag stoppage, the session resumed with just over 20 minutes remaining. Tekno Autosports Shane Van Gisbergen clipped the wall at the top on his flying lap and rturned to the pits, but when he returned to the track with ten minutes to go he went fastest, but then was immediately outpaced by Fabian COulthard in the Brad Jones Racing Holden, who smashed the all-time lap record with a time of 2:05.6080 in his Commodore, almost six-tenths clear.
Jason Bright was on course to go even faster but made a mistake down at The Chase and ran across the gravel trap,
Shane Van Gisbergen was able to improve on his final run to get to within nine-hundredths of a second of Coulthard, but the biggest surprise came from Britek’s Dale Wood, who went third fastest right in the dying moments and knocked Holden Racing Team’s James Courtney out of the all-important top ten.
Craig Lowndes qualified tenth and will be the only Triple Eight driver in with a shot of pole following Whincup’s crash earlier in the session.
Winterbottom ended up fourth fastest, the best placed Ford driver, with Scott McLaughlin fifth for Nissan.
The top all progress to tomorrow’s pole position shootout, which takes place at 17:10 AEST.