'Fantastically competitive': The 'intense' Bathurst pace

  • Repco Supercars Championship
  • |
  • 04/03/2021
  • By James Pavey

An element to the season-opening Repco Mt Panorama 500 was how cars rolled out and were quick from the get-go.

Last weekend's event was the first Supercars round in over four months, with Mount Panorama hosting the 2020 season finale in October.

After a long off-season, the overarching feeling was that drivers would take time to get up to speed.

That wasn't the case, with Chaz Mostert and Cameron Waters setting times in the 2:04s bracket in Practice 2.

Despite the little running, drivers were on the money, with Mostert and Waters split by just 0.01s in second practice.

Anton De Pasquale went even quicker on Saturday morning, setting a weekend-best 2:04.4250s to claim provisional pole.

Esteemed commentator Neil Crompton was shocked by the pace, despite the hotter conditions versus October, and following a four-month layoff.

"On track, what caught my eye early on was the incredible speed everyone managed straightaway," Crompton wrote in his Supercars.com column.

"By the time drivers got onto fresh tyres in Practice 2 on Friday, they were very close to being back to the pace they were in October.

"By the time they got to Friday afternoon, they were in the high 2:04s.

"I was a bit surprised by the intense pace; Cam Waters said to me, with a joke and a smile, that, ‘We normally get a year to build up to this’.

"I thought that was quite pertinent; we normally have a run and jump before they have to go over the high bar.

"It’s so fantastically competitive. The level of driving and engineering is at such a high level. It probably shouldn’t come as a surprise that everyone was on the pace."

Scott McLaughlin still holds bragging rights for the fastest lap in the Supercar around the mountain, having set a 2:03.4813s lap in Practice 5 in 2019.

Last year, Waters clinched pole for the Great Race with a 2:03.5592s lap, which was 0.0779s down on McLaughlin's 2019 lap.

Warm conditions set in across the weekend, with the quickest race lap of the weekend coming on Saturday.

The 2:06.3483s set by Chaz Mostert, on lap 33 in Race 1, was just over seven tenths of a second down on Shane van Gisbergen's quickest race lap from last October's Bathurst 1000.

Van Gisbergen set his quickest lap in the 2020 Great Race on the penultimate lap of the 161-lap classic.

The Repco Supercars Championship field will return to Victoria for the Penrite Oil Sandown SuperSprint across March 20-21. Tickets are on sale now.

The event will be broadcast live on Foxtel and will be streamed on Kayo. Check out the full TV schedule here.

Fastest practice laps

Session Driver Time
P2 Chaz Mostert 2:04.7817
P2 Cameron Waters 2:04.7928
P1 Chaz Mostert 2:05.2056
P2 Scott Pye 2:05.3896
P2 Tim Slade 2:05.4065
P2 James Courtney 2:05.4928
P2 Brodie Kostecki 2:05.5391
P2 Bryce Fullwood 2:05.5672
P2 Shane van Gisbergen 2:05.5917
P2 Anton De Pasquale 2:05.6188

Fastest qualifying/shootout laps

Session Driver Time
Q1 Anton De Pasquale 2:04.4250
Q1 Shane van Gisbergen 2:04.5474
Q2 Shane van Gisbergen 2:05.5769
Q1 Cameron Waters 2:05.5871
Q2 Chaz Mostert 2:05.6629
Q1 Chaz Mostert 2:05.6687
Q2 Cameron Waters 2:05.6754
Q1 Tim Slade 2:05.7380
Q2 Will Davison 2:05.8491
Q1 Brodie Kostecki 2:05.8930

Fastest race laps

Session Driver Time
R1 Chaz Mostert 2:06.3483 (lap 33)
R2 Shane van Gisbergen 2:06.3768 (lap 18)
R1 Scott Pye 2:06.6884 (lap 36)
R2 Cameron Waters 2:06.7095 (lap 19)
R2 Chaz Mostert 2:07.0309 (lap 20)
R1 Jamie Whincup 2:07.1163 (lap 34)
R1 Shane van Gisbergen 2:07.1195 (lap 33)
R1 Cameron Waters 2:07.1786 (lap 5)
R1 James Courtney 2:07.2509 (lap 35)
R1 Mark Winterbottom 2:07.3979 (lap 34)

Key: Practice (P); Qualifying (Q); Top Ten Shootout (TT); Race (R)

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