Giant killers: David Reynolds grabs pole for Bathurst 1000
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Defending Bathurst 1000 champion David Reynolds and co-driver Luke Youlden will start tomorrow's Great Race from pole position, after a superb lap under pressure.
Red Bull's Jamie Whincup was a nail-biting final combatant, and in the end he was only 0.009 away from Reynolds' 2:04.0589. The biggest surprise of the session was race rookie Anton de Pasquale, who flew through to third place on the grid with a monster lap of his own.
Shane van Gisbergen and Scott McLaughlin line up as the leading Kiwis, in fourth place and fifth respectively.
Garth Tander was the first car to set a time, and a near flat 2min 5sec lap-time represented a smooth and quick opening benchmark. But it was immediately pipped by Bathurst rookie de Pasquale.
After a positive run at the Sandown 500, de Pasquale and his also rookie-status co-driver Will Brown have been a revelation all weekend. And after making the shootout, de Pasquale slammed a competitive 2:04.3498 on the table — a lap that was pitch perfect apart from a rough run out of the final corner.
Nick Percat was next; his time slotting between de Pasquale and Tander. It looked like Cameron Waters was going to threaten de Pasquale's time, but a slight error at The Chase saw him have to settle for just above Percat.
Some fans would have been hoping for a fairy-tail performance from Craig Lowndes, but instead a workman-like 2:05.0835 — edging Tander.
By the time James Courtney filed his 2:05.0035, De Pasquale's time had served him well for a starting position in the top five. But, his greatest challengers were still to come; both Red Bull Holden Racing Team Commodores, Scott McLaughlin, and teammate David Reynolds.
Van Gisbergen was the first to take on the time. He was a tenth down after the first split, and then three and a bit tenths off at split two. And no, van Gisbergen's lap — though clean — was 0.188 slower than de Pasquale.
Defending pole sitter and current record holder McLaughlin was next, and he too was slower through sector one (by almost three tenths). But, that was followed by the quickest second sector of the session. However, a wide run through The Chase saw him drop a minute amount of time, and popped him in behind van Gisbergen.
Any hopes of a rookie pole position took a hit when Reynolds crossed the first split — three tenths up on de Pasquale. His second split was down a touch, but on aggregate he still held the power. A slightly wild run through the Chase forced watchers to hold their breath, but in the end the defending winner cranked out a 2:04.0589.
It left Whincup with the task of, in short, setting a 2min 3sec lap to take pole. He was a touch away from Reynolds' time through the first split, but made up the difference in time for the second split. It left a grandstand finish on the table for the last third of track, and as he crossed the red box emerged — Reynolds taking pole by just 0.009 of a second.
1. David Reynolds 2:04.0589
2. Jamie Whincup +0.0094
3. Anton de Pasquale +0.2909
4. Shane van Gisbergen +0.4796
5. Scott McLaughlin +0.4905
6. Cameron Waters +0.6928
7. Nick Percat +0.7084
8. James Courtney +0.9445
9. Craig Lowndes +1.0246
10. Garth Tander +1.1128