Whincup misses Top 10 Shootout

  • Virgin Australia Supercars Championship
  • |
  • 03/02/2018
  • By Stefan Bartholomaeus

For the second time in four months, Jamie Whincup will be a spectator for a Top 10 Shootout at Bathurst.

The seven-time Supercars champion could manage no better than 16th in qualifying for the Bathurst 12 Hour aboard the SunEnergy1 Racing Mercedes.

Whincup’s 2:03.4383s effort was 0.9 seconds quicker than the lap that put him sixth in this morning’s final practice, but proved over a second adrift of the provisional pole.

Late to start the Class A-only, Q2 session after co-driver Tristian Vautier endured a scrape with a Lamborghini in Q1, Whincup said he’s still struggling for balance with the AMG.

“We weren’t quick enough at the end of the day,” said Whincup, who also missed out on a Shootout berth at last year’s Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000.

“The car feels good, I didn’t do Q1 and just jumped in for Q2, so I only got a limited time.

“I went a second quicker than practice, which was a good chunk.

“I think another set of tyres, another run, would have given us another chunk again.

“We’re in the mid-pack which is not ideal, but that’s the way it is, we’ll tune it up and see if we can go quicker.

“Traditionally the Mercedes is good in the rear and it struggles with understeer,” he added.

“This weekend has been quite the opposite, the car is stepping out quite a bit in the rear.

“If we can calm that down and carry a bit more speed into the corner we should go quicker.”

Last year the Scott Taylor Motorsport-run Mercedes qualified just 17th in the hands of Shane van Gisbergen with a 2:03.88s, 1.66s from the fastest qualifying time.

Despite the lack of qualifying speed, the car went on to prove the biggest challenger to Whincup’s winning Maranello Ferrari in the race.

Whincup is sharing the Mercedes with Vautier, Raffaele Marciello and amateur Kenny Habul, who spent the bulk of this morning’s practice in the car.

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