Pole man Van Gisbergen inspired by Lap of the Gods
By V8 Supercars
Virgin Australia Supercars Championship
Shane van Gisbergen channelled arguably the greatest single lap of all-time to become the first Kiwi pole-sitter at the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 since his childhood hero Greg Murphy.
The aggressive Aucklander Murphy's 'lap of the gods' used it as motivation to grab one of Australia's most cherished prizes - Pole Position at Bathurst. And he even managed to beat it.
Van Gisbergen revealed he watched Murphy's famous 2003 lap - he was 15 at that time - moments before setting out in today's ARMOR ALL Top 10Shootout to pump him up.
"I watched the lap of the gods before I got in the car and got pumped. I was pretty excited," Van Gisbergen said.
"It was one of my career highlights for sure - maybe not my best lap but certainly a pretty important one."
Practice times have been smashed multiple times on the freshly resurfaced Mount Panorama.
Eight years after his 2003 classic, Murphy again put his Commodore on pole as the last Kiwi to take the front row at the mountain in 2011. Murphy finished third in that race.
Another Kiwi Scott McLaughlin fired the first shot in the Valvoline GRM Volvo with a 2min06.77s following a fairly conservative start to the shootout.
Next out Mark Winterbottom replied immediately 2m:06.63s, the first of the shootout drivers into the sixes but like McLaughlin it was relatively short-lived.
With the nine cars contesting the ARMOR ALL Top 10 Shootout the first ten for tomorrow are Van Gisbergen, Winterbottom, McLaughlin, Jason Bright, Fabian Coulthard, Craig Lowndes, James Moffat, Dale Wood and Jack Perkins; with James Courtney starting tenth.
Red Bull Racing team owner Roland Dane earlier questioned a suggestion by Holden Racing Team to elevate James Courtney into the shootout as a result of the sister HRT crashing in final practice.
It was suggested the 11th fastest Courtney/Murphy Holden Racing Team Commodore VF could be brought into the shootout but officials did not entertain the prospect.
Dane said elevating Courtney's Commodore into the shootout would have breached V8 Supercars rules and advised category officialdom of his opposition to the proposition.
But stewards declared it couldn't happen anyway, with no formal protest required.
It was an interesting aside between Dane and his former team principal Adrian Burgess, now the team boss of HRT after he walked out on RBRA late last year in heated circumstances.
Luff said he had no brakes coming into turn two at Mount Panorama, and clipped his 2013 Bathurst partner Craig Lowndes, whose Commodore also suffered substantial damage.
After getting out of his Red Bull Holden, Lowndes ran to Luff's car, after seeing it on its roof.
"The pedal's gone all the way to the floor," Luff said after getting back to the HRT garage.
"Full credit to these guys, the strength of these cars is amazing. I'm fine, just very disappointed for the team and those guys up the road - a big thanks to Craig for helping get me out the car, that was great."
The team inspected the car immediately but it was deemed by race officials as unable to be fixed adequately enough to race tomorrow. Tander and Luff were one of the favoured combinations.
"I'm just gutted for the whole team," Luff said.
"It's been a big week obviously did some repairs the other night after Garth on Thursday, I feel for the guys."
Lowndes' car suffered extensive rear-end damage, but his team staged a remarkable comeback to get him onto the track for the shootout.
He was very conservative in his qualifying lap, starting tomorrow's race in sixth, the same grid position he has won from before.
Now there's one session left - the 161-lap monster over 1000km tomorrow.
There will be a warm up session at Mount Panorama tomorrow morning at 7.50am with the 1000km race beginning at 10.30am local time.