Ford driver Cameron Waters will start the Bathurst 1000 from pole position after wild weather forced the cancellation of Saturday’s top 10 Shootout.
For the first time in 40 years, the traditional single-car session was cancelled after torrential rain lashed the 3.85 mile Mount Panorama Saturday afternoon, 60 minutes of heavy rain turning parts of the pit straight into a lake.
So heavy was the rain that two of the schedule support events, for the second-tier Super2 Supercars and the Porsche Carrera Cup racers, had to be cancelled because of dangerous track conditions.
Waters, who topped Friday’s provisional qualifying session, will lead the field away in his Monster Energy/Tickford Racing Ford Mustang. The similar Penrite/Grove Racing car of 2021 race winner Lee Holdsworth will line up alongside.
Though disappointed not to get to run in the session, Waters agreed with the decision not to run the session.
“As soon as you hit a river you aquaplane, and we do not want to be writing cars off the day before the race,” Waters said.
“There are rivers of waters running across the track. I think that the officials made the right call.”
Six-time race winner Mark Skaife, now a TV commentator, said that he had rarely seen such torrential rain at the mountain circuit.
“I haven’t seen this amount of water since 1992, when the race was suspended under red flag conditions when Jim Richards and some other cars crashed out,” said Skaife, who with co-driver Richards was declared the winner of that race 30 years ago when a multi-car crash blocked the circuit.
Holden Commodores will line up on the second row, led by last year’s winner, Chaz Mostert (Optus/WAU) and wildcard entry Richie Stanaway (Boost Mobile/Erebus Motorsport), who moved up a position after Supercars points leader Shane van Gisbergen (Red Bull/Triple 8) was penalised three grid positions over a Friday qualifying incident.
All the Holden drivers will be trying to send the brand off in style in its last race before Chevrolet’s Camaro takes over GM’s role under Supercars’ new Gen 3 regulations in 2023.
Teams now face some difficult decisions about Sunday’s race. More rain is expected around the start time of 11:15am, Sydney time, but it is expected to clear as the 161-lap race runs through the day. That could mean that a car set up for dry conditions could hold an advantage at the end of the race – provided its drivers can safely navigate what could well be treacherous conditions early in the race.