Maro Engel has claimed pole position for the 2014 Bathurst 12 Hour in this afternoon’s Class A-only Qualifying 3 session with an outstanding lap time of 2:03.8586. Engel’s time in the #1 Erebus Mercedes SLS AMG GT3 was 0.0835s faster than Mika Salo’s provisional pole time from this morning.
That means Engel now holds the fastest recorded lap for a closed roof car around Mount Panorama and along with his Erebus teammates they become the inaugural winners of the Allan Simonsen Pole Position Trophy.
Starting from P3 tomorrow will be the #37 McLaren 12C GT3 which went 2:04.0006 at the hands of Shane van Gisbergen. Alongside the McLaren will be the #63 Erebus Mercedes which couldn’t quite pull off a late charge for pole, when Will Davison was the last car across the line, setting a time of 2:04.2563.
Rick Kelly’sÂ 2:04.7643 lap set during the morning session was enough to put the #32 Nissan GTR on the third row. A dispute over technical regulations saw the #23 Lamborghini Gallardo forced to change to 2013-spec and move from Class B up to Class A. The team spent the morning session making the required changes, mostly to do with aerodynamics. David Russell returned to the track in the afternoon to top the time sheets in Qualifying 2 and his time of 2:05.0320 secured P6 on the starting grid.
You could throw a blanket over the next three cars, all Audi R8 LMS Ultras. The Audis posted their fastest times in the cooler morning conditions, with the #9 Network Clothing R8 recording a 2:05.5919 lap; the #3 Phoenix Racing R8 was desperately close with a time of 2:05.5946 and the #25 United Autosports R8 went 2:05.7175.
The top 10 is rounded out by #48 Lamborghini Gallardo which recorded its 2:06.3498 time in the morning session.
After collecting the pole trophy Engel paid tribute to Simonsen, killed at Le Mans last year, as well as his former teammate Sean Edwards, who died after a testing accident in Queensland where he was acting as a private tutor.
2014 Bathurst 12 Hour â€“ Qualifying (combined top 10)
- #1 Erebus Motorsport Mercedes SLS AMG GT3 â€“ 2:03.8586
- #88 il Bello Rosso Ferrari F458 Italia â€“ 2:03.9421 (+0:00.0835)
- #37 Darrell Lea McLaren MP4 12C â€“ 2:04.0006 (+0:00.1420)
- #63 Erebus Motorsport Mercedes SLS AMG GT3 â€“ 2:04.2563 (+0:00.3977)
- #32 NISMO Athlete Global Team Nissan GT-R NISMO GT â€“ 2:04.8228 (+0:00.9642)
- #23 JBS Swift Lamborghini Gallardo â€“ 2:05.0320 (+0:01.1734)
- #9 Network Clothing / Hallmarc Audi R8 LMS Ultra â€“ 2:05.5919 (+0:01.7333)
- #3 Phoenix Racing Audi R8 LMS Ultra â€“ 2:05.5946 (+0:01.7360)
- #25 United Autosports Audi R8 LMS Ultra â€“ 2:05.7175 (+0:01.8589)
- #48 M Motorsport Lamborghini Gallardo â€“ 2:06.3498 (+0:02.4912)
A full starting grid, including starting drivers, can be seen HERE.