A CRASH at the fastest part of Mount Panorama brought the fastest Friday in the Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour’s history to an early end.
The red flags came out with 15 minutes left in Practice 4 after the Class C No.15 BMW of Kent Baigent and Class A No.8 Mercedes of Max Twigg made contact at the Chase.
Baigent was taken hospital for precautionary scans on his back, his BMW hitting the wall nose-first and doing enough damage to rule it out for the rest of the weekend.
Twigg’s Mercedes escaped the incident unscathed, albeit covered in dirt after slewing into the sand trap at over 270km/h.
“That’s my fastest spin so far,” Twigg told News Corp. “I was going sideways in the sand and I said out loud ‘don’t tip!’”
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“I flashed my lights, he knew I was coming. We tipped in and I thought he was going to stay left, but he came back across to the right and we touched.
“We only just touched, but at that speed it was enough.”
The early end to the session handed fastest lap honours to Audi, Bathurst debutant Frederic Vervish logging a 2m03.1368s in the No.22 Jamec-Pem Audi he will share with Supercars star Garth Tander.
It’s the fastest time set on a Friday in the race’s history, augering well for the lap record to fall in qualifying on Saturday
“Not bad, for a first time for sure better than I expected so it’s good to be in front but you want to be there on Sunday,” Vervisch said.
“I think we have a really strong line-up, we all three are on a really strong pace and obviously it’s very nice to have Garth as a team mate he knows the track well, we did a track walk yesterday and he really gave us some good indications which obviously helped today.”
The No. 43 Schnitzer Team BMW ended the day in second place after topping the second and third sessions, Chaz Mostert setting the fastest sectors of the day to that point on his first two flying laps to post a best just 0.25 of a second shy of the Audi.
Two more Audis and another BMW rounded out the top five, with David Russell putting the No. 32 Lago Racing Lamborghini up into sixth place.
With the red flag preventing many teams from getting a chance to set a representative time, Friday’s final times leave the form guide muddled heading into Saturday’s two qualifying sessions.
The No. 47 YNA Autosports McLaren that Supercars star Scott McLaughlin will share ended the day in 12th, two spots ahead of the No. 58 sister car to be piloted by Shane van Gisbergen, Craig Lowndes and Come Ledogar, both cars struggling to find clear track to set a fast time. Supercars champion Jamie Whincup ended the day down in 21st, his Mercedes another car that didn’t set a representative time.
The two Bentleys ended the day in 14th and 22nd after only arriving at the circuit at 3:30am Friday morning following major shipping delays.
The cars hit the track for one more practice session at 8:55am AEDT before the opening qualifying session at 11:05am.