IT was a bruising opening day of running at the Repco Bathurst 1000 with several cars damaged across the course of Tuesday’s support category practice sessions.
All of the crashes occurred in the morning sessions with a couple due to a trail of oil at Reid Park, dropped by Touring Car Masters competitor Danny Buzadzic’s Holden Torana when its oil filter failed.
Jordan Cox held sway across both TCR Australia Series practice sessions, the first of which was punctuated by a series of red flags for incidents.
Chaz Mostert crashed on the oil trail at Reid Park while Keegan Brain hit the wall on pit straight, damaging their cars badly enough to miss the second session.
Listen to the V8 Sleuth team wrap all the Tuesday action from trackside at Mount Panorama in the player below!
Cox topped the interrupted opening dig by 1.3 seconds over title contenders Aaron Cameron and Luke King, then headed Garry Rogers Motorsport teammate Michael Caruso by 0.8 of a second in the second as the only driver to dip into the 2-minute 15-second bracket.
Another victim of the oil at Reid Park was Australian GT competitor Paul Stokell, who lost control of the Audi he’ll share with Gary Higgon in the opening session; the car was repaired in time for the category’s afternoon practice session.
The popular Bentley GT3 was another car to crash out of the opening session, with Mike Bailey expected to switch to an Aston Martin for the remainder of the round.
Triple Eight Mercedes duo Prince Jefri Ibrahim and Peter Hackett topped the day’s GT running ahead of Brenton Grove (Porsche), with Liam Talbot/Fraser Ross (Audi) and Yasser Shahin (Audi) next.
Shahin did all the laps aboard the Melbourne Performance Centre Audi on Tuesday with co-driver Christopher Mies forced into 72-hour isolation amid the changes to COVID-19 quarantine measures for overseas arrivals.
Joey Mawson laid down an impressive 2m00.8702s lap to set the fastest time in S5000 practice, four tenths clear of James Golding while Aaron Cameron was a further four tenths adrift.
The trio were missing their morning session sparring partner, Roberto Merhi, who topped the opening session but ended it prematurely with a crash at Sulman Park.
The Spaniard’s car was too damaged to make it out for the second session.
Steve Johnson took pole position in Touring Car Masters, narrowly missing his own qualifying record to give his Team Johnson XD Falcon its first pole position.
Ryan Hansford will join him on the front row for the championship races, ahead of debutante George Miedecke and Dean Lillie, while points leader John Bowe will line up fifth.
Tim Brook backed up his last-start pole to top qualifying for the Trans Am Series by half a second over Nathan Herne, who’d topped the morning practice session.
Herne leads the championship by 128 points coming into the weekend with his sole title rival, Edan Thornburrow, fifth fastest behind Kyle Gurton and Ben Grice.
In the V8 SuperUte Series, Ryal Harris took a narrow pole position at the end of a close qualifying session for the category’s four-race weekend.
Harris pipped Aaron Borg by just 0.07 of a second with Cameron Crick and David Sieders next, the top four covered by less than a second.