Lee Holdsworth has produced a stunning upset in qualifying at the Bathurst 1000, beating top guns Scott McLaughlin and Shane van Gisbergen to provisional pole before rain came to his rescue.
Holdsworth topped the time sheets on Friday by just 0.0108 seconds over Red Bull Holden’s van Gisbergen when cars headed to the pits to prepare for a last-lap dash.
That’s when the rain started falling on top of Mount Panorama to protect Holdsworth’s time of 2:04.0243 and leave the favourites trailing.
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“We have been robbed by that bloody cloud over the hill,” Supercars legend Mark Skaife said in commentary. “Seriously, this was going to be the best three minutes of our lives and that has smashed us up.”
Holdsworth was almost brought to tears by the result — he has never held provisional pole at Bathurst in his near 16-year Supercars career.
“I’m just stoked for Truck Assist Racing, Tickford Racing, Sammy (Scaffidi, engineer) has done an awesome job, my little mate Caruse (co-driver Michael Caruso) has been so good to me, I’m just enjoying myself,” he said.
“It takes a bit of confidence and sometimes it takes a little while for that confidence to build back up but it’s certainly there now…”
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Van Gisbergen remained upbeat after the session despite being robbed of a chance to improve on his time.
“That session was awesome, looking at the times and seeing how close everyone is,” he said. “Our car is getting better and better.
“We were a little bit heavy (on fuel), that’s why we were doing those laps to burn fuel and it would have been interesting to see that last run.”
McLaughlin had the third-fastest time for the session, followed by Cameron Waters and Jamie Whincup in fifth.
Fabian Coulthard, Anton De Pasquale, Chaz Mostert, James Courtney and Nick Percat all joined them in making it through to the Top 10 Shootout tomorrow afternoon.
Behind them, the grid has been set in stone for positions 11 to 25, with 2017 Bathurst winner David Reynolds (13th) and Mark Winterbottom (18th) among the biggest scalps.
The session was brought to a sudden halt at the 16-minute mark as red flags came out due to a heavy crash from Jake Kostecki at the Esses. The youngster will start the race from last.
Two more practice sessions, at 9:10am and 11:35am local time, will precede the 5:05pm Shootout.