Johnson bags pole ahead of Bowe
Series leader Steve Johnson will have the ultimate advantage come Saturday morning’s opening Gulf Western Oil Touring Car Masters race after claiming an emphatic pole position at Winton.
The Hancock Racing driver left it until late on in the session to break the one-minute 27 second barrier, claiming top spot ahead of series legend John Bowe after the latter sat comfortably atop of the timesheets throughout most of the session.
Multispares Racing’s Ryan Hansford was the only other driver to come close to the leading pair, finishing within five-hundredths of a second of Bowe and ensuring a second row start alongside Adam Garwood.
Western general Body Works driver Danny Buzadzic was able to power his A9X to the third row of the grid and come within a second of the leader, but will have R&J Batteries /Action Motor’s Marcus Zukanovic hot on his tail after qualifying in sixth.
The all-experienced Bowe kicked off the day’s action by going fastest in the one and only practice session of the weekend.
As a driver who knows this circuit better than anyone, Bowe finished four-tenths of a second ahead of Buzadzic, while Hansford was a further tenth of a second back in his Holden Torana A9X to round out the top three.
The eventual polesitter finished in fourth, but was able to find the pace when it mattered with a spot at the front crucial at a circuit known for its lack of overtaking.
“We were struggling a little bit in the speed traps but we were able to make the time up which is good, we have got the car in a really good window,” Johnson said.
“The first run was really good in p2 behind JB, I almost didn’t go out for a second run and it didn’t feel great, I even almost backed out of it half way through so I was surprised to see the time we put in.
“We don’t know who has a stronger car in the race, but all in all you can overtake here, it’s possible but if I get the start as long as I don’t make any mistakes and position the car where it needs to be I don’t think I’ll be passed.”
The Gulf Western Oil Touring Car Masters will take the track for its opening race on Saturday at 11:20am AEST.
You can catch all the action live, on-demand, and ad-break free on Stan Sport.