V8 SUPERCAR - SHELL CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES QUALIFYING - ROUND THIRTEEN, FAI 1000, BATHURST ISSUED: THURSDAY, 11th NOVEMBER 1999
CAT RACING SHOWS GREAT PACE IN MOUNT PANORAMA DEBUT
Cat Racing made a stunning debut at Mount Panorama, Bathurst today, just failing to grab provisional pole position in the afternoon qualifying for Sunday¹s FAI 1000 Classic.
While the team may be new to the mountain, drivers John Bowe and Jim Richards used their experience to good effect with Bowe stopping the clocks at 2:11.22 seconds.
That time headed the timesheet until the final seconds of qualifying when Paul Radisich pushed the Cat Falcon back to second position. Bowe¹s stunning time came despite losing an oil line early in the session.
The team also had to replace a front spoiler at the conclusion of the afternoon after Richards clipped a kerb.
Despite these set-backs, both drivers are eagerly awaiting the chance to get back into the car tomorrow.
"The car feels fantastic at the moment," Bowe said.
"It is a great start to the weekend but it is early days yet. We have spent a lot of time this year concentrating on shock absorber development and that is starting to pay off."
The Cat Racing team has been boosted by the recruitment of former Dick Johnson Racing team manger, Neal Lowe, and Mazda 12-hour mastermind Allan Horsley for this weekend¹s event.
"I've enjoyed a lot of success with these guys in the past and I am delighted they have joined us for the weekend," Bowe said.
"We have a very talented group of people behind us and Neal and Allan will really add to that depth of experience."
Bowe and Richards will be aiming tomorrow to finish in top ten in the afternoon 45 minute qualifying session. The leading contenders will then contest the top ten shoot-out for final grid positions on Saturday.
In his 28th start at Mount Panorama, Richards is delighted with the Caterpillar car.
"I still think there will be more time to find in the car, but I am very pleased with how comfortable it feels at this stage," Richards said.
"Everybody is going to go faster tomorrow so we can¹t rest on our laurels.
"However, I think the track is a little slower this year than what it has been in the past. This a great start to the weekend but there is plenty of work to do."
QUALIFYING 1. - Radisich/Ellery (F) - 2:11.220 2. - BOWE/RICHARDS (F) - 2:12.146 3. - Seton/Crompton (F) - 2:12.298 4. - Perkins/Ingall (H) - 2:12.225 5. - Longhurst/Macrow (F) - 2:12.245 6. - Skaife/Morris (H) - 2:12.575 7. - Tander/Bargwanna (H) - 2:13.075 8. - Lowndes/McConville (H) - 2:13.080 9. - Murphy/Richards (H) - 2:13.135 10. - Johnson/Johnson (F) - 2:13.955 (F)= Ford (H) = Holden
TIMETABLE: FRIDAY, 12th NOVEMBER, 1999 8.55 - V8 Supercar Qualifying 1.40 - V8 Qualifying (Top 50%) 2.35 - V8 Qualifying (balance of field)