CAM Waters achieved a feat not seen at the Repco Bathurst 1000 in 34 years: he took pole position without topping the traditional Top 10 Shootout.
The one-lap run off to set the top 10 grid positions was cancelled for 2022 following heavy rain on Saturday afternoon that left standing water and rivers running across the circuit, prompting race officials to abandon the session.
It is the first time that the Shootout has been cancelled since its inaugural running for the 1978 race.
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However, that doesn’t mean that 1977 is the most recent time the ‘Great Race’ grid has been determined by regular qualifying.
The 1988 edition of the race featured a Shootout, but it didn’t count for the grid.
That year’s Tooheys 1000 was run under international rules as a round of the 1988 Asia-Pacific Touring Car Championship.
Overseas officials had originally pushed for the Shootout to be cancelled the year prior, when Bathurst doubled as a round of the World Touring Car Championship, but the local race organisers held firm on holding the traditional one-lap session.
While they lost the battle in 1988 – along with the push to retain the traditional standing start – the local organisers ensured a Shootout did occur although it only counted for prizemoney and not for grid positions.
It also wasn’t a Top 10 Shootout: the format consisted of the eight fastest cars plus two invited runners at the organisers’ discretion, although the final field was expanded to 12 given pole position was not on the line.
The two ring-ins were Allan Grice, who’d line up 11th on race day, and Peter Brock, whose BMW M3 had only managed the 16th fastest time in qualifying.
There had also been a car swap among the Shootout runners.
George Fury qualified the #30 Nissan Skyline GTS-R in ninth on the grid, but Mark Skaife had damaged the car in a tangle with the privateer Holden Commodore of Ray Ellis and Bruce Williams.
Instead, the former rally ace piloted the sister #15 car scheduled to be raced by Glenn Seton and Anders Olofsson.
In the end Klaus Niedzwiedz topped the Shootout aboard the Ford Sierra he was set to share with Allan Moffat and Gregg Hansford, with eventual race winner Tony Longhurst second and John Bowe, aboard Dick Johnson Racing’s #28 Sierra, third.
Dick Johnson set the fourth fastest time in the Shootout aboard DJR’s flagship #17 Sierra but started from pole position alongside teammate Bowe in the #28, as the pair had set the two fastest times across the week’s qualifying sessions.
That means Waters is the first driver since Johnson to secure a Bathurst 1000 pole without topping the Shootout.
Waters’ 2022 pole position also sees him join another unusual club.
He is now just the second driver to achieve a Bathurst 1000 pole position through both a regular qualifying session and a Shootout.
The other? None other than Peter Brock.