April 2, 2021 | General

Van Gisbergen helps BMW to 1-2-3 sweep in first Bathurst practice

Shane van Gisbergen charged to the top of the charts late in the opening practice session for the Hi-Tec Oils Bathurst 6 Hour at Mount Panorama, continuing his remarkable recent run of form.

In stunning conditions, van Gisbergen jumped into the BMW M4 he’ll share with Shane Smollen and Rob Rubis this weekend late in Practice and took only a few laps to go quickest of everyone in the 60-minute session.

RESULTS: Practice 1 Results 

The Prestige Connex-backed team had used a bulk of the session giving laps to Rubis and Smollen before plugging the Kiwi – fresh off the back of winning five straight Supercars races and recovering from a broken collarbone – into the car for the final few minutes.

His 2m27.4380s best was 0.3s quicker than defending champions Beric Lynton and Tim Leahey, who had topped the first 55 minutes of the session in their similar BMW M3 Competition.

The team spent much of the session ‘roading’ several sets of new MRF control tyres in preparation for Sunday’s six-hour race.

Another BMW was third; Grant Sherrin another late improver in the session as he helped the #27 Sherrin Rentals BMW M4 to third position in the closing stages with a 2m28.745s best. He’ll share with David Russell this weekend.

In fourth position was the first of the Class A1 contenders, the Garth Walden / Michael Auld Mercedes A45 AMG quickest in class with a 2m30.0536 benchmark, set early in the session. The first A2 contender was next, fifth overall going to the Cachet Homes HSV Clubsport driven by Josh Muggleton, Chris Lillis and Matthew Holt.

The first of the Ford Mustang GT fleet ended up sixth overall and second in A2 class thanks to the 2m30.586s best set by the Paul Morris / George Miedecke / Brodie Kostecki entry.

The Ellery family BMW M3 was seventh overall, while Dylan Thomas and Anthony Soole ended up eighth in their similar BMW M4.

The final spot in the Top-10 went to the Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 8 driven by young-guns Zak Raddatz and Jack Winter.

The fastest car in Class A2 was the Holden Commodore SSV driven by Matt Forbes-Wilson, Ashley Seisun and Michael Ferns – the Race Academy International entry finishing 25th overall.

In Class C, the #31 Josh Haynes / Kaide Lehmann Renault Megane RS topped the charts and ended the session 29th overall, just 0.1 seconds in front of their closest class rivals.

In Class D the quickest car was the CHE Motorsport Toyota 86 GTS of Lachlan Mineeff and Thomas Sargent (36th outright) while the Class E pace was set by the #35 Mazda 3 SP25 driven by Brianna Wilson, Jake Lougher and Philip Alexander.

Teams will have a lengthy break prior to the second, 60-minute session later today, due to start at 5:00pm local time.

59 cars completed at least one lap, the Brad Carr / Tim Slade BMW M4 the highest-profile car to sit out the session.