Audi sets Bathurst pace

Audi locks out the front row of the grid for tomorrow’s Bathurst 12 Hour.

Dominating practice on Friday and Saturday, Audi again set the pace in the Top 10 Shootout at the Bathurst 12 Hour, with a front row lockout and four cars starting in the top 10.

Mark Horsburgh

14 May, 2022

Mostert, van der Linde and Feller swapped the lead throughout practice, taking their competition and speed into the shootout

Audi has carried its speed from practice into the Top 10 Shootout at the Bathurst 12 Hour to secure first, second and fourth positions on tomorrow’s grid.

Putting together a perfect lap as the Top 10 session came to an end, Chaz Mostert slipped into the box seat with a 2:02.493 second flying lap to claim the coveted Allan Simonsen Trophy for pole position – the first time an Audi has been on pole at the race since 2015.

From the the very first laps in practice, the Audis were the ones to beat, the international drivers on the pace almost immediately, but their local counterparts showing their knowledge of the famous track, to create almost a ‘revolving door’ at the top of the leaderboard, with the fastest lap being bested almost every time another Audi driver hit the track.

Impressing from his first laps, Audi Sport driver, Ricardo Feller, was blisteringly fast. Although on his first visit to Bathurst, the young Swiss driver took to the Mount Panorama circuit as if he’d been born there, consistently at the front of the field. Fellow Audi Sport driver, Kelvin van der Linde, was likewise a pace setter, the South African having competed for Audi at Bathurst in the past and showing why he’s one of the best GT drivers in the world today.

(L to R) Liam Talbot, Chaz Mostert and Fraser Ross with the Allan Simonsen Trophy.

Not to be outdone, Chaz Mostert, the reigning Bathurst 1000 Champion, continually appeared at the top of time sheets during qualifying, ultimately taking his speed into shootout to claim pole by the narrowest of margins (the narrowest in 12 Hour history in fact) just as the session came to an end.

Qualifying for the Bathurst 12 Hour looked very different in 2022 with a completely new format adopted for the Top 10 Shootout. Traditionally, the 10 fastest cars from the first two practice sessions were given a single flying lap of the 6.2-kilometre Bathurst layout to secure their place for the race start. This year though, that flying lap was scrapped in favour of a multi-lap session in which the 10 qualifying vehicles were split into two groups of five and were given 15 minutes to circulate around the track – their best laps from that session cementing their starting position.

The reason for the change was all to do with rubber, with regulation changes in 2022 outlawing tyre warmers and race organisers concerned that optimum tyre temperatures couldn’t be reached for a one-lap dash shootout. 

The Top 10 Shootout was run with a new format this year to enable the Pirelli control tyres to get up to temperature without the use of tyre warmers

Racing gets underway at the earlier time of 5:15 tomorrow morning, with four Audis starting in the top 10 positions

As a result, positions sixth to 10th were first out on the track for their 15 minute stint, with the #9 Hallmark entry of Lee Holdsworth, Marc Cini and Dean Fiore second fastest in the group.

The cars fifth to first were out next, with three Audis all vying for top spot – Kelvin van der Linde, Ricardo Feller and Chaz Mostert continuing to swap fastest laps right up until the end. 

When they line up for the early start of the race tomorrow, the #65 Coinspot R8 of Chaz Mostert, Fraser Ross and Liam Talbot will be on pole, with the #74 Audi Sport Team Valvoline car of Nathanaël Berthon, Brad Schumacher and Kelvin van der Linde along side in second position. The other Audi Sport Team Valvoline car of Ricardo Feller, Yasser Shahin and Markus Winkelhock sits in fourth position next to a Mercedes, while the #9 Hallmark car is just one row back in sixth position.

Racing gets underway at the earlier time of 5:15 tomorrow morning, with the full race televised on Fox Sport and the Seven Network.