FOUR-TIME Bathurst 1000 champion Jamie Whincup has cemented his favouritism for the Bathurst 1000 by setting the fastest lap on the mountain of 2.08.0054 to qualify fastest for tomorrow’s all-important top-10 shoot-out. Teammate Craig Lowndes will also feature in the top-10 shoot-out tomorrow, claiming 6th position after overcoming some early set-up issues.
It puts the pair in perfect position for their 2013 assault on the mountain, while Whincup is now on track to equal V8 Supercars great Peter Brock for a record 50 poles. More milestones could be achieved this weekend for the Red Bull Racing Australia driver – should he take out this year’s Bathurst 1000 he will match teammate Craig Lowndes for five wins.
“It’s still early days, it’s a massive week but we’ll take it,” Whincup said.
“The conditions were completely different to what we had in practice. I made a few errors which I’m disappointed with but we recovered and have provisional pole for tomorrow’s top-10 shoot-out.
“To prepare for tomorrow you have a good sleep and a good feed tonight. It’s a tough one the shoot out because Saturday tends to be a slow day after a big day of qualifying and practice Thursday and Friday.”
Whincup and Lowndes may be among the favourites but as history has proven anything can happen on the mountain. The pair, with respective co-drivers Paul Dumbrell and Warren Luff, will face stiff competition from the likes of Jason Bright, James Courtney and Garth Tander among others.
“You can’t count out the FPR cars either, Frosty is right there,” Whincup said.
Meanwhile, two-time MotoGP champion Casey Stoner has finished ninth in the first race of two for the DVS series, holding on to his qualifying position.
“At least we start in the same position tomorrow as we did today, within the top 10.” Stoner said.
“Qualifying was a bit of a better set up. We’d been going hard tyres and then went softer for the race which ended up being the wrong decision but now we know what we need for tomorrow.”
The final practice for the Bathurst 1000 will run tomorrow at AEDT 10.05 followed by the Top 10 shoot-out at 5.00pm, check local television guides here or stream all the action live at www.superview.com.