Engel spurred on by Simonsen memory

04 Feb 2023
'’d like to think he had an eye on all of us'
2 mins by James Pavey

The late Allan Simonsen was on Maro Engel’s mind as the German cantered to Bathurst 12 Hour pole position.

Engel was in record-breaking form aboard the #999 GruppeM Mercedes-AMG on Saturday.

The German driver reset the practice/qualifying record twice at Mount Panorama, in qualifying and the Pirelli Top 10 Shootout.

He also became the first driver in 12 Hour history to set a 2:00s lap, which helped him scoop his second Simonsen Trophy.

Engel’s Saturday Shootout time was a full 2.9767s quicker than his 2014 pole lap.

The 37-year-old won the trophy for the first time in 2014, the year after Simonsen’s death at Le Mans.

The 2014 edition of the race was the first held after the passing of Simonsen, who previously held the lap record at Mount Panorama.

Fastest Bathurst 12 Hour pole times

Come 2023, and Engel — who has never won the 12 Hour — went even quicker to salute the late Dane.

“It was the year after he passed away,” Engel said of his 2014 pole.

“I was thinking about him today. I’d like to think he had an eye on all of us.

“It’s been a good day. Amazing to come away with pole with such a lap.

“But also to have all of us safely through these qualifying sessions.


“We can look forward to a great race tomorrow, which for our team, is the big egg.”

GruppeM has also never won the race before, and is now firm favourite for overall honours.

Engel had to stave off Broc Feeney, who impressed to second in the Shootout.

ONBOARD: Engel's record-breaking Shootout lap

Matt Campbell qualified third for Manthey EMA, with the Porsche ace aiming to repeat his 2019 victory.

“I think I got absolutely everything out of it,” Campbell said.

“I thought there might have been a couple of scratches on the mirror at some point.

“The lap was better than my 2020 pole lap, but we just didn’t have the pace today.

“Second row start isn’t too bad, we’ve got 12 hours. Anything can happen.

“There’s going to be so much evolution of the track tomorrow as well over 12 hours.

“We’ll make it good at the end, and hopefully we’re somewhere.

Sunday’s LIQUI MOLY Bathurst 12 Hour will commence at 5:45am local time.

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