April 3, 2021 | General

Defending champions fire back in final pre-qualifying hitout

The two most recent Hi-Tec Oils Bathurst 6 Hour winning teams have shown their intent to return to the top step of the Mount Panorama podium this weekend, topping the final pre-qualifying practice session on a stunning Saturday morning.

An early 2m26.0699s flyer from Tim Leahey saw the BMW M3 Competition he’ll share with Beric Lynton top the session – his lap only 0.1 seconds slower than Shane van Gisbergen’s best effort from practice yesterday.

RESULTS: Bathurst 6 Hour Practice 3 

Meanwhile, David Russell charged in the final stages of the session to finish second aboard the Sherrin Racing BMW M4 he’ll share with former winner Grant Sherrin – the yellow and red BMW M4 finishing just 0.6s behind Leahey’s flyer.

The Dylan Thomas / Anthony Soole M4 continued to show their competitive intent by finishing third thanks to the formers 2m28.2175s best.

The Cachet Homes-backed HSV GTS of Josh Muggleton, Chris Lillis, and Mathew Holt continued their strong pre-race preparation by finishing fourth overall and first of the big-banger normally aspirated Class A2 cars.

They finished the session just 0.2 seconds ahead of the Miedecke / Morris / Kostecki Mustang – the Ford second in class and inside the top five overall.

With the Steven / Tristan / Dalton Ellery BMW M3 in sixth, the ever-improving Local Legends Ford Mustang driven by Tony Quinn, Grant Denyer and Tim Miles made their first appearance inside the top-10 with their first lap beneath the 2m30-second barrier of the weekend.

Friday’s pace-setting BMW was eighth; van Gisbergen sitting out the final session to give co-drivers Rob Rubis and Shane Smollen as many laps as possible prior to qualifying. The #77 Mitsubishi Lancer Evo of Zak Raddatz and Jack Winter continued to show their potential by topping the A2 class and again featuring inside the top-10 overall in ninth, while Jimmy Vernon put his Evo X Lancer – shared with Mark Griffith – into 10th overall and second in class.

There were positive signs just outside the top 10 – the troubled BMW M4 of Bradley Carr and Tim Slade finally enjoying a full session of running – the pair ending the 40-minutes in 14th position overall.

First in Class B1 was the #48 Scott Gore / Keith Bensley BMW 135i, while B2 was paced by the Race Academy International Commodore driven by Matt Forbes-Wilson, Ashley Seisun and Michael Ferns.

Class C continued to fall the way of Osborne Motorsport’s Renaults, the #31 entry of Josh Haynes and Kaide Lehmann setting the pace – though they were less than a second in front of their nearest rivals.

The Cousins Bargwanna topped Class D in their VW Golf GTi – beating all Class B and C cars in the process – by finishing 32nd outright, while Class E went the way of the #46 Ian Cowley, Daniel Natoli and Matt Thewis Suzuki Swift Sport.

With practice now complete, the Hi-Tec Oils Bathurst 6 Hour field will turn to qualifying mode to set the grid for the Easter Sunday enduro.

The bottom 50% of cars from practice will run first in a 20-minute session, before the fastest half run separately to set the pointy-end of the grid.

Both qualifying sessions will be broadcast live + free on 7plus in Australia, Sky Sports New Zealand and internationally.