CHAZ Mostert delivered BMW its first Bathurst 12 Hour pole position in over a decade.
A stunning Top 10 Shootout lap from the Supercars star delivered the first lap of the weekend in the two-minute, one-second bracket, his 2m01.93s lap over two tenths faster than provisional pole sitter Kelvin Van der Linde.
The triumph earns Mostert his maiden Allan Simonsen Trophy, the pole-winner’s award named in honour of the late Danish racer.
THE GRID: 2018 Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour
“It’s pretty surreal … for me it’s probably one of the best pole positions I’ve ever got,” Mostert told 7.
“We were close last year in the Pro-Am entry, but it’s great to get the pole this time with Schnitzer Motorsport.”
While pole position may not mean much over a 12 hour race, it hands Mostert and teammates Marco Wittmann and Augusto Farfus a key advantage with the race beginning in the pre-dawn darkness.
“It reduces the risk completely,” he said.
“In the dark here with the lights and stuff, the risk is much higher to end up out of the race.”
A steady lap from Van der Linde puts the Jamec-Pem Audi he will share with Frederic Vervisch and multiple Bathurst 1000-winner Garth Tander alongside on the front row.
Luke Youlden was early star in the Shootout. Eighth fastest heading in, the reigning Bathurst 1000 champion piloted his Lamborghini fastest of all through the first sector to leap to the top spot for much of the session.
In the end, he was only bested by Mostert, Van der Linde and Christopher Haase in the second of the Jamec-Pem Audis to wind up fourth on the grid.
Going the other way was Australian Porsche factory rising star Matt Campbell, ruining his lap by running wide on the exit of Hell Corner to fall from provisional fourth to 10th on the grid.
Last year’s Bathurst 1000 pole sitter Scott McLaughlin wound up fifth, a slide in the Chase costing him precious tenths on a lap that was nonetheless half a second faster than his stunning Supercars record.
Cameron Waters made the most of his late elevation into the shootout, after the third-fastest BMW of Philipp Eng, Steven Richards and Timo Glock was excluded post-qualifying for a technical breach.
Waters moved from tail-end Charlie to sixth, while GT lap record holder Shane van Gisbergen was unable to repeat his 2016 qualifying heroics on his way to eighth.
Several big names missed out on a spot in the Top 10 Shootout in yesterday’s qualifying sessions.
Reigning race winner Jamie Whincup will start from 15th in the Mercedes he shares with Kenny Habul, Tristan Vautier and Raffaele Marciello, while 2016 Bathurst 1000 winner Will Davison will start down in 18th, four spots ahead of last year’s victory David Reynolds’ Mercedes.
The race gets underway at 5:45am AEDT Sunday morning.