AARON Cameron has broken the two-minute barrier in qualifying for S5000’s debut at Mount Panorama.
Cameron posted a 1m59.9340s lap as the chequered flag flew on the 20-minute session, setting the grid for the first of four races at the Repco Bathurst 1000.
“It was pretty special, to be the only guy to do it in that session,” Cameron told V8 Sleuth.
“It was more comfortable than you’d think. I’m more comfortable doing a 1:59 in these than I am doing a 2:15 in a TCR!
“But the last lap was pretty scary, I really pushed hard to try and make sure we got under that bracket. The Dipper, I barely made it out the other side.
“We were just finding more and more time over the top through the Grate (Sulman Park) and McPhillamy.
“That last lap I ended up shifting into fifth gear before McPhillamy where every other lap I was high-revving in fourth, so I was able to carry a lot more speed through there than I thought I could.
“I watched Jimmy Golding’s footage last night and the way he came down through Skyline; I got up close to the walls like he told me to and it worked, so I feel sorry for him because he’s not very far behind!”
Cameron was initially unaware that he’d broke the two-minute mark on his final flyer.
“Me and my mechanic Cody have a good thing going where he just gives me the info and we don’t talk much,” he said.
“My dash actually didn’t come up with a 1:59, it came up with a 2:00.2, so I didn’t think I’d gotten a 1:59 or pole either.
“Cody informed me when I was coming through the back paddock there. It was pretty special to think we got pole and then find out it was 1:59. It was fricken cool.”
“I think as it is, we could get down to a mid-1:59s with more experience,” he said.
“So, I’d think we’d be in the 58s if we had full power. If you got the whole lap together with full power, an easy 58.”
The times tumbled as the end of the session neared, with several drivers coming agonisingly close to beating the magic mark.
James Golding and Joey Mawson came close, but both fell shy of a 1-minute 59-second lap by mere tenths to finish with the second and third-fastest times.
Only six tenths of a second covered the top six cars, with the leading trio closely followed by Nathan Herne, John Martin and former F1 racer Roberto Merhi, having his first laps after overnight repairs following his crash in Tuesday’s opening practice session.
Tim Macrow, Luis Leeds, Blake Purdie and Jordan Boys round out the 10 cars that took part in the session.
Yoshiaki Katayama will start off the rear of the field in Race 1 after missing all of practice and qualifying due to serving mandatory 72-hour quarantine after returning to Australia following a race in Japan over the weekend.
The S5000s hit the track for the first of four races in the final round of the Tasman Cup at 1:35pm AEDT on Thursday.
– Additional reporting by Stefan Bartholomaeus.