Steve Owen tops classy field in practice for Bathurst 12 Hour
Reigning Bathurst 12 Hour champions Team Mitsubishi Ralliart posted strong times in both Practice 1 and Practice 2 today at Mt Panorama, although it was the Canberra based Koundouris Brothers entry with Steve Owen behind the wheel that was fastest overall for this weekend's Armor All Bathurst 12 Hour Showroom Enduro
Owen set the fastest time in practice session one in the Superbarn Supermarkets #96 while 2008/09 winning driver Damien White was fastest in the second session in the #1 Pedigree Petfoods Mitsubishi Evo X, both in the Natrad All Wheel Drive Performance class.
Owen was the 2009 Armor All Pole Winner and is looking to reclaim the title on track tomorrow. His time today of 2.28.86 was 2/100ths faster than his pole time last year.
"The cars feeling good, we are just playing with the set-up but we are not far off. I think based on Steve's practice we will go close to the Pole Award," said Superbarn Supermarkets team member, Theo Koundouris.
The two Pro-Duct Mitsubishi Evo X's entered by Bob Pearson were also quick with Glenn Seton and Jason Bargwanna both in the top five.
Warren Luff in the West Surfing Products TMR Evo was fourth fastest and the Eric Bana/Tim Leahey/Peter Hill Evo was 6th although turbo boost problems surfaced in the second session.
Mitsubishi dominated the top 8 positions with the Holt/Bowe/Morris BMW 335i and the Zukanovic/Simonsen/Bright Shelby Mustang GT500 rounding out the top 10. The BMW 335i was the fastest in the Harrop High Performance Rear Wheel Drive class.
Early casualties were the Osborne Motorsport #31 Mazda 3 MPS which broke an engine mount in practice one, and the sister car #13 which blew a turbo in practice two.
Rain fell midway through P2 catching out Jack Elsegood in the new Rockstar FG XR8 Ute, with slight front and rear panel damage ending their session early. The Hankook Honda Integra of Gerry Burgess also suffered panel damage after aquaplaning at Turn 2, while the Zukanovic Shelby Mustang showed early promise till an engine misfire kept the sensational looking racer in the garage. The team are working overnight to try and cure the teething gremlins as the car only turned its first race lap today, after being built over the last 6 weeks at the Action Racing workshop in Melbourne.
The Walden Commodore SS was the fastest in the STP Performance class, the McLeod family's Holden Astra Sri dominated the Racer Industries Production Sport category, with the Bathurst based Mathew Windsor Subaru Impreza 2.5 fastest in the Repco Authorised Repairs Small car class.
The lone Alfa Romeo 159 of David Stone/Rocco Rinaldo and Kean Booker was the sole entry in the Supercharge Alternative Energy class and ran strongly all day.
All entrants will have another practice tomorrow morning before qualifying starts at 1.30pm Eastern Daylight Saving time.
The Armor All Bathurst 12 Hour Showroom Enduro is in its 4th year, with a grid of 45 expected to start. The race features production cars in a class structure representative of the mass road-going market. BMW, Mitsubishi, Ford, Holden, Nissan and Subaru will compete for outright honors.
Prostate Cancer is the official charity of the Event and the race will be televised in a 3 hour special on the SEVEN Network, through Fox Sports, New Zealand and other International Markets.
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