Matt Campbell claimed the Allan Simonsen trophy after a stunning 2m03.555s lap of Mount Panorama in the Bathurst 12 Hour Top 10 shootout. This puts Absolute Racing’s No. 911 911 GT3 R on pole for the current-gen Porsche’s first attempt in the event.
“I put everything on the line, I was pushing hard, missed a few apexes, but there was nothing left on the table. I’m extremely excited — this is a trophy I’ve wanted for a long time,” Campbell said after the session.
After topping Qualifying 2 earlier in the day, Campbell was given the chance to go last in the shootout, which pits the top 10 runners from Q2 in reverse order out on the track for a single flying lap each.
His time was staggering, the Australian, who won the race last year, seven tenths up on the other runners after the second sector, before crossing the line two tenths clear.
Alvaro Parente came closest to pole in 59Racing’s No. 60 McLaren 720S GT3, the Portuguese racer touring the circuit in 2m03.555s, putting him on provisional pole before Maro Engel and Campbell headed out on the track. It wasn’t quite pole position for the former McLaren factory driver, but it was nevertheless a strong run from the McLaren on its first attempt at qualifying on the Mountain.
Raffaele Marciello put the No. 999 GruppeM Mercedes third with a 2m03.821s, narrowly bettering Joao Paulo De Oliviera who was the fourth driver to set a time and looked rapid in the sole remaining KCMG Nissan.
The No. 1 Earl Bamber Motorsport Porsche, which is the defending race winner, will start fifth and on the third row of the grid ahead of the No. 77 Craft-Bamboo Black Falcon Mercedes AMG GT3 which bounced back from its suspension failure and incident yesterday to make the shootout.
Team Valvoline’s No. 222 Audi, the No. 888 GruppeM Mercedes, No. 63 FFF Racing Lamborghini and No. 76 R-Motorsport Aston Martin completed the session respectively.
The shootout came after two qualifying sessions earlier in the day which were marred by multiple heavy incidents. The entry looks to have been reduced to 34 cars ahead of tomorrow’s race as a result of the shunts.
The No. 35 KCMG Nissan was scratched from the entry yesterday, while the HubAuto Corsa Ferrari, No. 777 Bend Motorsport Park Mercedes, No. 92 Racer Industries MARC II and No. 62 R-Motorsport Aston Martin have all been withdrawn following huge accidents today. This is a record number of pre-race withdrawals from the event, one more than the previous high from the 2017 edition of the race where four cars were deemed irreparable before the race.
There is also a question mark overhanging the Trofeo Motorsport Lamborghini Huracan GT3, which had a big off in Q2, Dean Canto going backwards at high speed into the tires at McPhillamy Park, the car flying into the air and landing on the grass verge in front of the spectator fencing.
Outside of the GT3 ranks, the Invitational and GT4 class poles were decided in Q1. The No. 91 Racer Industries MARC II will start from pole in the former after Nick Percat’s 2m05.537s, and the RHC BMW M4 GT4 bettered the Nineteen Corp Mercedes to take the GT4 honors.
Tomorrow’s race, as per tradition, will start before sunrise at 5:45 a.m. local time, the cars racing through sunrise and into the afternoon.