Vanthoor's Audi on top in final Bathurst practice

Image by Andrew Hall

Vanthoor's Audi on top in final Bathurst practice

International Racing

Vanthoor's Audi on top in final Bathurst practice

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After Mercedes proved dominant on Friday, it was Audi that topped the times in Practice 5, the final practice session at Mount Panorama ahead of the Bathurst 12 Hour.

The session’s best time came courtesy of Dries Vanthoor, a 2m03.443s — by far the fastest lap of the weekend — in the No. 2 Audi Sport Team Valvoline R8 LMS GT3.

Vanthoor’s fast lap, though, was just a tenth up on second place, as Marco Mapelli in the No. 63 FFF Racing Lamborghini clocked a 2m03.549s, those two drivers the only ones under the 2m04 mark.

Rounding out the top three was another Valvoline Audi, the No. 222 with a 2m04.152s.

Outside of the pro runners, the best of the Pro Am GT3 cars ended up fourth, the Grove Motorsport Porsche 911 RSR GT3 which managed a 2m04.203s. The sole BMW M6 GT3, run by Walkenhorst Motorsport, completed the top five.

This session was incident packed at the start and at the end, featuring two red flags, the first for an outbreak of kangaroos storming the circuit (photo above). Thankfully, the cars all avoided them, but much time was lost as one of them hopped all the way from Mountain Straight to The Esses!

Following the red flag for the kangaroo invasion, the session ran almost entirely clean until the final minutes when two cars had significant offs at the same time.

The first was the HubAuto Corsa Ferrari, which hit the concrete wall on driver’s right at McPhillamy Park. Daniel Serra was at the wheel and the car snapped on him as he was passing through, sending him flying off the circuit. He was unlucky to miss the tire barriers completely, the 488 GT3 suffering significant damage to its right-hand side.

The car’s status, at this stage, remains an unknown.

Oliver Jarvis was the second driver off, the Briton losing control of the No. 8 Bentley going through The Chase, sliding off the circuit and into the tire barriers. It was a heavy impact, though thankfully not with a concrete wall.

It appeared from the replays that Jarvis had no brakes, as there was no lock up.

It was rotten luck for M-Sport, as both its cars suffered issues yesterday, the No. 8 suffering from a sensor issue which cost the team all of Practice 4.

“Thankfully Oliver is fine,” team boss Matthew Wilson said. “It’s a brake issue of some sort; he lost braking at the front (though) he was able to scrub off some speed. Until we get to see the car we won’t know the cause.

“It’s been a trying weekend so far. Hopefully the boys can get the car out again.”

In better news for M-Sport, its No. 7 Bentley, which underwent an engine change yesterday, had a trouble-free session.

UP NEXT: Qualifying, which gets underway at 12:40 local time.

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