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‘Empty’ Holdsworth denied final Shootout berth

LEE Holdsworth was left more disappointed than most with the cancellation of the Top 10 Shootout at the Repco Bathurst 1000.

The scrapping of the famed one-at-a-time blast due to heavy rain at the venue was a letdown for all 10 drivers set to face Mount Panorama.

But Holdsworth had been stoked to qualify second on Friday and book a Shootout berth following the recent announcement that he’ll retire from full-time driving at year’s end.

Although expected to return to Bathurst at his 2021 race-winning home Walkinshaw Andretti United next year as a co-driver, that role won’t include qualifying duties.

“It’s a little bit of an empty feeling for me, I really wanted to have a crack at my last Top 10 Shootout and didn’t get to do it,” said Holdsworth.

“But they (Supercars and Motorsport Australia) made the right call. The track was ridiculously bad with the water, the rivers.

“It was looking like it was possible to run it at the start but that next front started rolling in and it was back to being undriveable.

“Our cars would probably be aquaplaning in third gear and we wouldn’t have reached full throttle for the whole lap, so it wouldn’t have been that entertaining for people to watch.

“Still a little bit empty, but very happy to be starting off the front row.”

Holdsworth starred in a wet Friday qualifying session. Pic: Penrite Racing

The upside for Holdsworth is that the Grove Racing Mustang he shares with the man who’ll replace him in 2023 – Kiwi Matt Payne – will start Sunday’s race on the front-row.

That’s one place ahead of his 2021 race-winning partner Chaz Mostert, who put the #25 WAU Commodore he shares with Fabian Coulthard third in Friday’s qualifying session.

Mostert also backed the decision to abandon the Shootout, which officials say could not be postponed to Sunday morning due to scheduling constraints.

“The water on the track was probably worrying, but the biggest thing for a Top 10 Shootout is you’ve just got no car temp,” said Mostert.

“These cars are quite sketchy in those conditions.

“If it was just another 20-minute qualifying or something like that and all 10 cars were on track together, we’d have the time to build-up to it.

“But I thought Supercars made the right decision.

“For us 10 drivers to go out there on a warm-up lap with a cold car and then go and try and do something special in those conditions to try and beat each other, I think you would have found half the 10 to be in trouble.

“The other five probably would have been more sensible and I would have been one of the five that wasn’t sensible!”

The cancelled Shootout gave Cam Waters pole position – Tickford Racing’s third Bathurst 1000 pole in four years.

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