Scott McLaughlin scored his first Bathurst ARMOR ALL Pole with a stunning 2:03.8312s lap in the Top 10 Shootout at Mount Panorama.
The #17 Shell Ford was the last out in the Shootout after yesterday’s qualifying, which he topped with a 2:04.2253s.
Second fastest qualifier David Reynolds set an impressive 2:04.2746s benchmark for McLaughlin to beat, but the championship leader did not disappoint.
Just 0.009 seconds up after the first sector, McLaughlin ran two wheels through the grass at McPhillamy Park before skating down through The Esses.
The committed run across the top gave him a 0.328s advantage by the time he hit Conrod and, with an inch-perfect run through The Chase, the final margin was a full 0.4434s.
“I’ve dreamed of doing this since I was a little kid,” said an emotional McLaughlin. “That’s the most incredible moment of my life.”
The result marks a 14th pole of the season and 18th consecutive front-row start for McLaughlin, who is sharing his Ford with Alex Premat in the PIRTEK Enduro Cup.
A polesitter two years ago, Reynolds was left to settle for second with his Erebus Motorsport Holden.
Prodrive duo Mark Winterbottom and Chaz Mostert will share the second row after a Shootout that featured all four of the team’s Falcons.
Winterbottom was the sixth man out and set up his lap with a strong first sector that was 0.3s faster than the previous benchmark.
“It always feels like you under-drive it a bit in these Shootouts but when you hit the fence reality kicks in,” he said.
Mostert lost 0.2s to Winterbottom in the first sector and later felt he could have pushed harder.
“I just couldn’t believe how much grip was out there. I was a bit conservative,” he said.
Shane van Gisbergen improved from seventh to an eventual fifth with his lap and will share row three with Cameron Waters, who drove solidly in his first Shootout.
“It was a little bit of an unknown, not knowing what grip I had,” noted Waters. “There was a little bit more in it, but my first time doing this up here, it’s pretty special.”
Fabian Coulthard dropped from sixth in qualifying to seventh after running wide at The Cutting on his lap.
“You’ve got to have a dip. I’ve struggled there all weekend so I’m not surprised something like that was going to happen. Today that’s all we had,” he said.
Jason Bright and Garth Tander improved one spot each over their qualifying efforts to be eighth and ninth respectively, while James Courtney dropped to 10th.
“The run up the hill cost a tenth and a half and then down the bottom into the Chase I just couldn’t commit and dragged it in there,” he said.
“Sorry to the boys, but that’s what it’s about, putting it on the line. The car was good across the top, but the bottom of the circuit hurt us.”