Audi leads BMW duo in first Bathurst 12 Hour practice

Bathurst 12 Hour
15 Feb
Kelvin van der Linde has picked up where he left off at Mount Panorama
  • Kelvin van der Linde goes quickest in Practice 1

  • Audi star the only driver in the 2:02s on Friday morning

  • Charles Weerts, Raffaele Marciello make it BMW two-three

Audi star Kelvin van der Linde has picked up where he left off at Mount Panorama, setting the fastest time in Practice 1 at the Repco Bathurst 12 Hour.

Van der Linde, making his first 12 Hour start since 2022, clocked the only 2:02s lap of the session to put over 0.5s over his neatest rival.

The South African clocked a 2:02.7346s early in the 40-minute session, with the time holding sway for the remaining minutes.

Van der Linde, who has never won the 12 Hour, is sharing the #22 Wash It Audi with Liam Talbot and Christopher Haase, who ended the session behind the wheel.

Charles Weerts (#32 BMW) and Raffaele Marciello (#46 BMW) made it a Team WRT two-three late on, with the WRT drivers within 0.62s of van der Linde.

Defending three-time winner Jules Gounon ended the session fourth in the #75 SunEnergy1 Mercedes-AMG, with Luca Stolz setting the benchmark time in the car.

Gounon clocked a 2:03.4664s to move to second midway through the session, before both WRT BMWs moved up the order in the closing minutes.

It wasn't all smooth sailing for van der Linde, who jostled for top spot with brother Sheldon, who is sharing the #32 WRT BMW with Weerts and Dries Vanthoor.

Van der Linde hustled across the top of the Mountain and made gentle contact with Danny Stutterd's #702 TekworkX Motorsport IRC GT entry at the Cutting.


The #22 Audi opened proceedings under overcast skies with a 2:09.3553s, before improving to a 2:06.2403.

Brother Sheldon, the 2022 DTM champion, jumped to the top with a 2:04.6305s, before Kelvin fired into the 2:03s with a 2:03.9010s.

Sheldon moved the benchmark to a 2:03.8561s to put 0.044s on Kelvin, who returned to the top with a 2:03.8839s to lead the way by nearly a second.

Marciello, sharing the #46 BMW with Valentino Rossi and Maxime Martin, sat in third before Stolz dropped in his 2:03.4664s to jump to second.

The #22 remained atop the time sheets as Haase took over, with Weerts and Marciello moving up the order as the chequered flag approached.

The session ran green for its entirety, with the #91 Martini-backed Wheels FX MARC II entry given a mechanical black flag due to loose bodywork with Keith Kassulke behind the wheel.

Bronze drivers will return to the track for Practice 2 at 9:50am AEDT, ahead of the second Free Practice session at 1:30pm AEDT.

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