March 24, 2016 | General


KEY FRONTRUNNERS have lapped at record pace in the opening practice session for the Hi-Tec Oils Bathurst 6 Hour this morning at Mount Panorama.BMWs topped the tables in the 50-minute session held in cool conditions on Good Friday, the Luke Searle / Barry Graham M135i edging out the Sherrin Rentals 135i by just 0.086s at the top of the pops.LIVE TIMING > Follow the Bathurst Motor Festival with live timing here.The Searle entries’ 2m27.00s lap was 0.1s beneath the existing Production Car / 3E lap record at Mount Panorama and only two-tenths off the fastest ever Production Car lap on the Mountain, set in 2010 by Steve Owen in a Mitsubishi Lancer.Four brands finished practice in the top four positions with a promising debut from the Garth Walden Racing Mercedes-Benz AMG A45 seeing the new car punch out a 2m29.76s lap for third fastest time.Garth Walden and Ben Porter will share the driving this weekend with both drivers completing laps this morning.Dylan Thomas and Bathurstian Terry Nightingale ended the session fourth in the CXC Global Racing Mitsubishi Lancer EVO X RS, the first of the strong Mitsubishi brigade entered in the race this weekend.Their 2m30.56s lap – set by Nightingale – put them just in front of the DPO BMW 335i shared by Chaz Mostert and Nathan Morcom.Mostert banked the BMWs time late in the session, jumping to fifth place in a promising sign for the pair of young drivers – and Mostert on his return to the Mountain for the first time since last October.Jim Pollicina banked a 2m30.94s lap that placed his EVO Lancer 6th, edging out John Bowe and David Wall’s similar Mitsubishi late in the session.Michael Caine / Gerry Murphy were seventh in the second Poll Performance EVO, double Bathurst 12 Hour winner Rod Salmon and Andrew Richmond next in the first of the Melbourne Performance Centre Mitsubishi’s.The No. 18 VE HSV GTS (Muir / Hodgson / Kite) placed as the first of the Aussie-built entries in 9th, just ahead of Daniel Flanagan’s VY GTS.The 50-minute session was only stopped for a brief red flag interruption but otherwise ran green for its duration, with more than 600 laps completed by 49 competitors.The second session for Bathurst 6 Hour competitors will be another 50 minute hit-out to commence at 1:20pm today.FULL RESULTS: Click hereCLASS LEADERSClass / Time / in Lap / Number / Entrant / Driver / CarA12:27.000562Searle-GrahamBarry GrahamBMW M135i Hatch F20A22:33.505618Muir-Hodgson-Kite Holden VE-HSV GTSB12:27.086619Sherrin-Sherrin-AyresDavid AyresBMW 135i E82B22:35.5741476Williams-Windsor-MuggletonJoshua MuggletonHolden VE-HSV SSC2:39.1051188Eddy-JouyMark EddyRenault Megane RS265D2:44.77564Sugden-Williams-HumbleJake WilliamsBMW 328i E36E2:51.7401185Kirkham-KirkhamDeclan KirkhamMazda MX6I2:42.778332Jarvis-Jarvis-JarvisBrody JarvisFord Falcon AU