One year after the 1-2 for Audi in the Armor All Bathurst 12 Hour, an Audi R8 LMS is on pole position again for this year’s running of the Australian endurance race at the beautiful Mount Panorama circuit. A total qualifying time of 6.28.65 minutes, an aggregate of the fastest individual lap times set by the three drivers Christer Joens, Christopher Mies (both Germany) and Darryl O’Young /Hong Kong) saw the number 1-Audi, entered by German team Phoenix Racing, qualify on pole position. The Audi is followed by a pair of Ferrari 458 Italias, with the number 17-Maranello Motorsport entry (Allan Simonsen, Dominik Farnbacher, John Bowe, Peter Edwards) in second place and the identical number 33-Clearwater Racing car (Weng Mok, Craig Baird, Matt Griffin) in third place.
Fourth place on the grid is for the number 23-JBS Lamborghini (Roger Lago, David Russell, Wayne Park), with the second Phoenix Racing Audi (Craig Lowndes, Warren Luff, Mark Eddy) ending up fifth, followed by Erebus Racing’s Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG (Tim Slade, Jeroen Bleekemolen, Peter Hackett, Bret Curtis) in sixth place.
Qualifying for the Armor All Bathurst 12 Hour was split into two sessions. There were 90 minutes of qualifying early on Saturday morning, followed by a second session of another 30 minutes to round out the day’s activities late in the afternoon. It turned out that for most of the teams, the times set in the morning session were the fastest and were used to determine their starting grid positions as a result. The only team to do better in the afternoon was German team Black Falcon Racing, that saw its number 21-Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG move up from tenth to ninth after the second session.
Obviously, sprits were upbeat within the Phoenix Racing team after claiming pole position for tomorrow’s race. “Last year, we started from second place and we won. This year, our chances are even better”, said Christopher Mies. Darryl O’Young commented: “The car is good, preparation is good, but we still have got a long race ahead of us.” While Mies and O’Young were already part of last year’s winning team, Christer Joens is making his debut in Bathurst. “I am very excited. I have done many laps on the simulator and seen a lot of video footage, but nothing beats the real thing”, he said.
The race starts at 6.15 h local time tomorrow (Saturday, 20.15 h CET) and finishes at 18.15 h local time (Sunday, 8.15 h CET). Live timing and streaming can be found on the event website: www.bathurst12hour.com
Photos: Bathurst 12 Hour