Bathurst 24 - qualifying report

Jones puts Aussie Ferrari Oo pole for first Bathurst 24-hour race. THE Ferrari 360GT of Australian team PHR Scuderia will start from pole position in tomorrow's inaugural Bathurst 24-Hour race after driver Brad Jones set the fastest time in ...

Jones puts Aussie Ferrari Oo pole for first Bathurst 24-hour race.

THE Ferrari 360GT of Australian team PHR Scuderia will start from pole position in tomorrow's inaugural Bathurst 24-Hour race after driver Brad Jones set the fastest time in qualifying today at Bathurst's Mount Panorama circuit.

And it will be an all-Australian front row for the 4 pm rolling start, with Cameron McConville claiming the second grid spot for Holden's new 7.0 litre Monaro.

On row two will be Australian David Brabham in a British-based Cirtek Porsche GT3 RS and the UK Rollcentre team Mosler MT900R of owner-driver Martin Short.

With Ferrari Formula 1 engineer Claudio Bersini tending his Ferrari in the pits, Jones set his time of 2 minutes 15.07 seconds in cool conditions during a twilight qualifying session.

The session was one of three contested by the field of 36 GT sports and touring cars from Australia, Britain, Germany, Austria and New Zealand.

The Ferrari was an impressive 1.4 seconds faster than the Monaro, upsetting predictions the V8 Holden would blitz the field.

A question also arose over the reliability of the yet-unraced Monaro when it was pulled in early in the third session tonight with a cracked differential mounting.

Teams generally took a conservative approach to qualifying to save their cars for an estimated 3500 kilometres of racing ahead.

They also had been warned to be alert tonight for kangaroos on the track.

Authorities published a Kangaroo Risk Assessment for the race and took several measures to deter the animals, including observers and static and car-mounted sonic scaring devices.

There were no collisions between cars and kangaroos and the only major incident of the day occurred almost at the start of qualifying, when Peter Fitzgerald crashed his PHR Scuderia Porsche GT3 RS heavily after skidding on dirt pulled on to the track by other cars.

With the car unable to be repaired in time, the team substituted a slower Porsche GT3 Cup model in order to qualify Fitzgerald and teammates Jim Richards, Matt Weiland and Maher Algadri.

Jones said his many years' experience as a touring car driver at Bathurst had been an advantage in winning the prestigious pole position for the first Australian 24-hour race in almost 40 years.

"Having a few thousand laps around here definitely helps, while the internationals will naturally take a while to learn a challenging circuit like Mount Panorama," Jones said.

He described racing at night around the 6.2 km circuit, which is mostly unlit, as tricky.

"It's harder to pick the corner apexes. The traffic is pretty bad during the day, but at night it's terrible trying to get past.

"You just have to remember it's a 24-hour race, not a sprint, and wait for your opportunity to get by safely.

"It will be a long, hard race. We plan to adopt the same strategy we use in the Bathurst 1000 - think on your feet."

Teams have until midday tomorrow to advise officials which of their drivers will start the race. Jones said PHR Scuderia's lead driver John Bowe was expected to take the start in the Ferrari.

PHR Scuderia estimates the Ferrari will cover between 570 laps and 600 laps, make 22 pit stops and use up to 48 tyres and 1800 litres of fuel.

A total of nine overseas cars will contest the race.

QUALIFYING RESULTS

1.  Jones/Bowe/Morris/Teulan, PHR Scuderia (Ferrari 360GT) n2 min. 15.07 sec.

2. McConville/Richards/Pretty/Tander, Garry Rogers Motorsport (Holden Monaro) 2:16.43
3. Brabham/Grice/Palmer/Weiland, Cirtek Motorsport (Porsche GT3 RS) 2:19.58
4. Short/Pashley/Malagamuwa/Lamb, Rollcentre Racing (Mosler MT900R) 2:21.44
5. Bagnall/Burgess/Lloyd/Alzen, Seikel Motorsport (Porsche GT3 RS) 2:22.73
6. Maries/Wilson/Floyd/MacDonald, Graham Nash Motorsport (Porsche GT3 RS) 2:23.84
7. Pearson/Brame/Stewart/Roma, Pro-Duct Racing (Mazda RX-7) 2:28.47
8. Miles/Cleland/Geeves, Castrol NZ (BMW 320i) 2:28.71
9. Bosnjak/Palmer/Luff, Compuware Racing (Mitsubishi Magna V8) 2:28.89
10. Brooks/I. Donaldson/A. Donalson, Duller Motorsport (BMW M3) 2:29.03

-www.bathurst24hr.com-

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About this article
Series Road racing
Drivers David Brabham , Martin Short , Cameron McConville , Jim Richards , Brad Jones , Garry Rogers , Peter Fitzgerald , Algadri Maher
Teams Garry Rogers Motorsport