Race 28 2023 Repco Supercars Championship - Vailo 500 For the second year succession, the…
The 2017 pairing of David Reynolds and Luke Youlden last years Great Race winners proved too quick for the other 9 contenders vying for the bragging rights of pole position on the Mountain.
In an exciting battle it was Erebus Motorsports young Rookie Anton de Pasquale that set the bench mark with a time of 2:04.3498 that would see championship hopefuls Scott McLaughlin and Shane van Gisbergen fall short of the youngsters time. The two kiwis would eventually find themselves in fourth and fifth spots with van Gisbergen ahead of McLaughlin.
The battle for the front spots and de Pasquale’s dream of taking pole in the Great Race was curtailed by his team mate in the second to last run for the shootout, Reynolds put his head down and took the top spot from Anton in what looked to be a track that was cooling off after late forming clouds came in from the south. With only Jamie Whincup left to run and the track going off it looked as though Erebus might actually lockout the front row of the grid.
Whincup was slower in sectors one and three and fastest in the middle sector compared to the times of Reynolds, in the end the pair would end up just 0.009s apart.
Cameron Waters looked set to trump de Pasquale early in his run but he ran to wide through the chase which saw him starting from 6th spot in the number six Ford Falcon. “(I) Left a little bit of time out there but more than happy with a third row start tomorrow”, said Waters on social media.
Starting off from the fourth row of the grid is Nic Percat he set a time of 2:04.7673 to start from 7th, unable to dip into the 2:04’s, James Courtney set the eight quickest time of 2:05.0034.
In his final run as a full time driver Craig Lowndes could only manage 9th position, during his run in the top ten the crowd could be seen cheering him on around the whole circuit, Lowndes said earlier in the day that you can hear the fans as you go around Mount Panorama which gives you a lift.
Rounding out the top ten is Garth Tander, his time was 2:05.1717.
Erebus Motorsport Driver Quotes:
“I am ecstatic. I have been putting pressure on myself all day, I woke up this morning at 4am doing laps in my head. I watched Anton do his lap and I didn’t actually know if I could beat that, I had to be fast. Our cars have been phenomenal since we rolled out of the truck, so it’s a credit to the team. We stuck by our plan, the engineering group did a bang-up job on both of our cars. We are 1-3, it’s an epic day for us. We just need to continue it tomorrow, I’ll take it lap by lap 161 times.”
Anton De Pasquale:
“Third feels really good. Obviously, I got no dry running before qualifying and was quite stressed and still was before the shootout, but I’m feeling more comfortable every lap I do. The cars are really fast, as a team we are in a really good spot and are really happy. It’s difficult being one of the first cars on track, I didn’t know what times were falling around me and how good the track would be, so I just went as quick as I could and was the fastest I’ve been all weekend. After a few guys you start realising how good your time really is and that’s when the stress sunk back in but to end up third, I’ll definitely take that.”
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