Cameron Waters has claimed pole position for the 2020 Bathurst 1000 after blitzing his rivals by a huge margin with the fastest-ever lap in Bathurst Shootout history.
His Tickford Racing No. 6 Ford Mustang GT lapped Mount Panorama in a stellar 2:03.559, almost half a second ahead of reigning Bathurst champion Scott McLaughlin in second.
Waters’ co-driver Will Davison described it as a “bloody mega” lap, while an elated Waters couldn’t hide his satisfaction, saying “that was awesome.”
And while all the talk in the lead-up to the action had centred on the possibility of wild weather wreaking havoc in the shootout, there was only the lightest smattering of droplets as Waters stormed to the top of the timing charts.
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Waters told Fox Sports: “I absolutely gave it everything. I knew there was something special in the car, I just had to put it all together.”
And he promised the $1000 cheque for the Shootout win: “will go towards beers on Sunday night, no matter how we go.”
The pole was the fifth of the 26-year-old’s career, while he has just one solo victory to his name, coming at Tailem Bend earlier this season.
Behind McLaughlin in second, Chaz Mostert leads the Holden charge from third. Nick Percat originally completed the second row on the grid but was later disqualified and dropped down to 10th after his #8 Brad Jones Racing Holden failed post-Shootout weight checks by two kilograms.
Percat had finished Friday’s qualifying in 10th, but opened the Shootout with a “sensational” lap according to Fox Sports commentators. His 2:04.247 was a full three-tenths quicker than his best effort from Friday’s qualifying.
“That was the quickest I’ve done around here,” said Percat. “That was pretty cool. I didn’t know how hard to go so I just went as hard as I could.”
Scott van Gisbergen takes fourth spot as a result of the disqualification.
Second-up James Courtney couldn’t come close to that red-hot effort, going a second slower at 2:05.355. He said: “It didn’t feel like it really hooked up. It didn’t feel great.”
Immediately after his lap, Courtney told commentators that it was raining at the top of the mountain. But it was only the lightest of showers, and it didn’t stop Walkinshaw’s Chaz Mostert from posting a “mega lap”of his own soon afterwards, as his race engineer described it.
Mostert charged to the top of the provisional charts with a 2:04.010, a time that was good enough for third on the grid once the session was complete.
“God that was fun,” Mostert said gleefully after letting out a whoop. “You gave it all, that’s all we can ever ask. Great job,” his team told him.
Anton De Pasquale was next up but struggled with oversteer, finishing with a 2:04.768.
Fabian Coulthard then bagged three personal best sectors but couldn’t top the charts, bagging a 2:04.853. “Very different conditions to what we’ve had in quali(fying),” he said.
Jamie Whincup was storming towards pole with a superb lap, only to lock his rear tyres at The Chase and run off the track. It cost him a huge chunk of time, and he finished 2:06.394 to slump to the bottom of the runners to that stage.
Then Cameron Waters blew his rivals out of the water. Purple sectors (the best of the session) in the first two thirds of the course sent him on his way to the best lap of the weekend – and the fastest time ever in a Shootout – with a 2:03.559.
Fox Sports Commentators said: “That’s one of the best laps of his life.”
Waters cheered: “Man, I’m so pumped. That was absolutely awesome. So much fun!”
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Reigning Bathurst champion and Supercars series winner Scott McLaughlin couldn’t match the lightning pace of his rival, but still managed to pip Mostert’s time by the slimmest of margins with a 2:04.002.
“We made a lot of changes in the car. I just enjoyed that,” he said.
Van Gisbergen was pushing it to the limit but – like Whincup – couldn’t nail the final few corners, and mistakes at The Chase and Murray’s Corner left him off the pace with a 2:04.451.
“It wasn’t a good lap, I stuffed it up. We have a fast car, I just needed to get it right,” he said.
Lee Holdsworth started last after topping Friday’s qualifying, but couldn’t match his performance in the Shootout as he slumped to a 2:04.677 to finish sixth.
Top 10 Shootout results:
1. Cameron Waters: 2:03.559
2. Scott McLaughlin: 2:04.002
3. Chaz Mostert: 2:04.010
4. Nick Percat: 2:04.247* (disaqualified)
5. Shane van Gisbergen: 2:04.451
6. Lee Holdsworth: 2:04.677
7. Anton De Pasquale: 2:04.768
8. Fabian Coulthard: 2:04.853
9. James Courtney: 2:05.355
10. Jamie Whincup: 2:06.394