Watch: Scott McLaughlin claims Bathurst 1000 pole with incredible record lap
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Scott McLaughlin has made history once again at Mount Panorama, grabbing pole for tomorrow's Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 with the fastest lap of the iconic track in Supercars history.
He and co-driver Alex Premat will start tomorrow's race alongside Chaz Mostert and James Moffat. Cameron Waters/Michael Caruso and Jamie Whincup/Craig Lowndes make up row two, with Shane van Gisbergen set to start fifth with co-driver Garth Tander.
The session had been under threat of potential rain. But instead it remained dry for its duration — cold temperatures being the main deviation compared to yesterday's running.
The first driver on track was Anton de Pasquale in the sole Penrite Erebus Motorsport Holden Commodore in the top 10. Following an on-edge lap — ragged through turn one — a 2:04.383 benchmark was set.
The time couldn't be beaten by the next challenger, Mark Winterbottom, but Cameron Waters blew it apart. A slick lap underlined by a hairy sideways moment at Reid Park saw the Monster Ford Mustang driver set the first 'three' — a 2:03.978.
Waters' time looked like it was good enough to possibly contend for pole, but was instead immediately under threat by Jamie Whincup. After struggling in qualifying, Whincup looked much sharper in the dry. A hesitant moment at McPhillamy Park and wheel-spin exiting Forest Elbow were the only issues with the lap. He ended it shading Waters, just three-hundredths behind.
Brad Jones Racing's two drivers, Nick Percat and Tim Slade, were next onto the track. But neither could hang with Waters or Whincup's times (Percat complaining of a lack of grip following his 2:04.670).
Will Davison was next out, slotting between Whincup and de Pasquale. Van Gisbergen was out next, falling in just in front of Davison with a typical, charismatic lap. This only left the two hot tips for the session; Mostert and McLaughlin.
Mostert, as expected, was incredibly quick. The sectors indicated he was continuing the pact he showed in last practice, and at the end of a lap where he used all the road (and got a little sideways at McPhillamy Park) he was out front on a 2:03.789.
Mostert's time looked to be very competitive, until his main rival McLaughlin hit the first sector intermediate with a thick three-tenth margin. He added in kind to that margin at the second sector with similar confidence. And, making no mistakes over the rest of the lap, he threw down a monumental 2:03.378. The lap is the fastest lap in Bathurst 1000 qualifying history — and the second time McLaughlin has performed the feat in the high-stakes top-10 shootout.
McLaughlin's pace is clear to see judging by the spread of the field. From the Kiwi's top spot to van Gisbergen is seven tenths, while first to 10th has a large 1.6-second spread.
While the lap was impressive, rivals will be noting the 'hoodoo' against those that claim pole position for 'The Great Race'. Over the last 10 years, those on pole have only gone on to win the race itself one single time.
Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000, top 10 shootout results
1. Scott McLaughlin/Alex Premat
2. Chaz Mostert/James Moffat
3. Cameron Waters/Michael Caruso
4. Jamie Whincup/Craig Lowndes
5. Shane van Gisbergen/Garth Tander
6. Will Davison/Alex Davison
7. Anton de Pasquale/Will Brown
8. Nick Percat/Tim Blanchard
9. Tim Slade/Ash Walsh
10. Mark Winterbottom/Steve Richards