David Reynolds will start Sunday’s Bathurst 1000 from pole position after a stunning performance in the Top 10 shootout at the famous Australian circuit.
The defending race winner was untouchable in the single-car session around the 3.85-mile Mount Panorama circuit to snatch the top starting position with a lap of 2m04.0589s. But the Holden Commodore driver had to dig deep, as he held off 2017 Supercars champion Jamie Whincup by a bare 0.0094s.
The speed of Reynolds was no surprise, as his Erebus Motorsport teammate Anton de Pasquale set the pace early in the session and will start the race from third. In his first Bathurst Shootout, the 23-year-old was first man out in the single-lap session and his dazzling time of 2m04.3498s stood up until the final two drivers went out.
“My young teammate did a pretty amazing time — I couldn’t let him beat me, so I had to go a couple of tenths down the road,” grinned Reynolds, who had a sleepless night.
“At four o’clock this morning I was replaying how I could get the last couple of tenths; my car was amazing. I got my tires up [to pressure] and pressed on.”
Whincup, who has four wins in the event and three seconds, said he “couldn’t be happier” with the speed of the Red Bull HRT Holden, which he will share with long-time co-driver Paul Dumbrell.
Alongside de Pasquale will be Whincup’s teammate and series points leader Shane van Gisbergen, while Ford drivers Scott McLaughlin and Cam Waters will share row three.
“I tried to give it everything into The Chase because I knew I was on a good lap,” said DJR Team Penske’s McLaughlin, who could not repeat his spectacular pole lap from a year ago. “Go hard or go home, they say, grip it or rip it, and I gave it a crack. The car was good but the track I think went away from us a little bit.”
Waters has put a tough season with Tickford Racing temporarily behind him with sixth in the Monster Energy-backed car he will share with co-driver David Russell.
Holden drivers completed the top 10. Nick Percat will share row four with Walkinshaw Andretti United’s James Courtney, while veterans Craig Lowndes and Garth Tander will share row five. In his final Bathurst 1000 appearance as a full-time driver and first Shootout appearance since 2014, Lowndes put steering problems behind him, while Tander is happy with his Garry Rogers Motorsport car he will share with New Zealander Chris Pither.
The 26 teams face the 161 laps with fine weather predicted, the 620-mile race due to start at 11:10 a.m. Sunday, Sydney time.
Top 10 Shootout Results
1 David Reynolds (Erebus Motorsport Holden), 2m04.0589s
2 Jamie Whincup (Red Bull HRT Holden), 2m04.0683s
3 Anton de Pasquale (Erebus Motorsport Holden), 2m04.3498s
4 Shane van Gisbergen (Red Bull HRT Holden), 2m04.5385s
5 Scott McLaughlin (DJR Team Penske Ford), 2m04.5494s
6 Cam Waters (Tickford Racing Ford), 2m04.7517s
7 Nick Percat (Brad Jones Racing Holden), 2m04.7673s
8 Courtney (Walkinshaw Andretti United Holden), 2m05.0034s
9 Craig Lowndes (Triple 8/AutobarnHolden), 2m05.0835s
10 Garth Tander (Garry Rogers Motorsport Holden), 2m05.1717s