Mercedes-AMG squad secure Bathurst 12 Hour pole position
Search Driven for vehicles for sale
After a curious day of qualifying, the grid has been set for tomorrow's Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour.
Aston Martin pilot Jake Dennis was the quickest in the shootout, which won him and his team the Allan Simonsen pole award memorial trophy. But, a two-spot grid penalty for speeding in pit-lane earlier in the day hung over the team, which meant that while they won the trophy pole position itself went to the Mercedes-AMG of Raffaele Marciello and co-drivers Maximillian Goetz, and Maximillian Buhk.
It was a day of qualifying surprises among all the lead GT3 entries, with numerous favourites missing out on a top-10 shootout berth. Shane van Gisbergen's Vodafone Mercedes-AMG GT3 [pictured above] was arguably the biggest of those to not make it into the top 10. With co-driver Jamie Whincup behind the wheel, they could only muster the 19th-fastest time (2:03.4495). Their best time was over a second slower than the driver that claimed provisional pole, Jake Dennis.
In fact, no Kiwi made it into the top-10 shootout. Jaxon Evans' co-driver Kevin Estre could only manage 12th place, while Daniel Jileson, Sam Fillmore, and Chris van der Drift start 27th, 28th, 31st respectively in their Class B and Invitational machines.
The best of the early runners in the top-10 shootout was Raffaele Marciello. The Mercedes-AMG pilot set a 2:02.9348 — a time that Stephen Kane (Bentley), Kelvin van der Linde (Audi), Christopher Haase (Audi), Alexandre Imperetori (Nissan) couldn't match.
The closest thing to a Kiwi in the top-10 shootout was Matt Campbell — the nominated driver for Earl Bamber Motorsport's silver fern–laden Porsche 911 GT3-R. But despite a clean lap he could only muster a fourth place, of those to have attacked the mountain.
Various other drivers lined up to take on the mountain, and each struggled to match Marciello's marker. Yelmer Buurman (Mercedes) and Maro Engel (Mercedes), although the former Supercars driver was close — just a tenth adrift.
This just left David Reynolds and provisional pole-sitter Dennis. The 2017 Bathurst 1000 champ could only muster fourth, leaving just Dennis [pictured above] able to take on the challenge of edging Marciello for the Allan Simonsen pole award memorial trophy.
And the Aston Martin ace drove like a racer possessed — eclipsing Marciello's top lap by four tenths in the first sector alone. After a clean remainder of the lap (apart from a wide moment at the end of Conrod Straight), Dennis was able to fire in a lightning 2:02.4946.
Top 10 Bathurst 12 Hour qualifying
1. Jake Dennis
Kelvin van der Linde