Heinrich Scorches to Debut TCM Pole
Joel Heinrich has stunned the establishment, claiming pole position from his first-ever Gulf Western Oil Touring Car Masters qualifying session aboard his Daimler Trucks Adelaide Chevrolet Camaro at The Bend Motorsport Park.
On a dry track in bright sunshine, the local ace proved too quick with a best time of 2:01.6545sec, edging out title leader Steve Johnson (Hancock Racing Ford Mustang) by 0.3325sec.
Johnson was the most recent driver to score a TCM pole on debut, which he achieved at Symmons Plains back in 2015, set quick sector times and was primed to steal the top spot late, before falling just short.
Ryan Hansford, who is looking for a big points haul this weekend, qualified third in the Multispares Racing Holden Torana, ahead of the similar car of Andrew Fisher (Jesus Racing).
Filling out the top-ten positions were Danny Buzadzic (Western General Body Works Holden Torana), who was fifth outright and on top in Pro Am, from John Bowe (Rare Spares Holden Torana), Cameron Tilley (Anglomoil Lubricants Valiant Pacer), Marcus Zukanovic (Action Motor Industries Falcon), Tony Karanfilovski (TIFS Third Party Logistics Ford Mustang), and Jason Palmer (Palmers Sales and Marketing), who put in a giant-killing performance in his BMW E30 to be fastest in the Invitational class.
The leader in the Pro Sport classification was John Adams aboard the Bullet Trailers Racing Ford XY GT Falcon.
Earlier today in practice, Johnson topped the timesheets in a session interrupted by rain with a 1.2187sec advantage over Heinrich, who impressed in his debut run in the class.
The top five for the session were rounded out by Fisher, Hansford and Karanfilovski, the top-placed runner in the Pro Am class.
Zukanovic was sixth ahead of the top Pro Sport runner in Adams, while Palmer led home the Invitational class runners.
The changeable conditions caught out multiple competitors who were fitted with dry weather tyres, with Hagen Zerk in his Invitational Ford XA GT Falcon Coupe going off track, causing a momentary red flag.
The Gulf Western Oil Touring Car Masters return to the circuit at 3:20pm for the weekend opening Trophy Race.