Bathurst 12: Event qualifying report

OWEN CLAIMS ARMOR ALL POLE POSITION FOR WPS BATHURST 12 HOUR Reigning Fujitsu V8 Supercar Champion Steve Owen has secured the ARMOR ALL pole position for tomorrow's WPS Bathurst 12 Hour Showroom Enduro at Mount Panorama in Bathurst,...

OWEN CLAIMS ARMOR ALL POLE POSITION FOR WPS BATHURST 12 HOUR

Reigning Fujitsu V8 Supercar Champion Steve Owen has secured the ARMOR ALL pole position for tomorrow's WPS Bathurst 12 Hour Showroom Enduro at Mount Panorama in Bathurst, NSW.

Owen, who is this weekend sharing the driving duties in the Supabarn Supermarkets Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IV with James and Theo Koundouris, set a scintillating lap time around the famous Mount Panorama circuit to finish almost two seconds clear of his nearest rival.

"Qualifying on pole is a great result but tomorrow will be a long day," said Owen.

"I'm currently negotiating to try and get back into the Main series (V8 Supercars) and wanted to come out and show the people I'm trying to do deals with that I have the right stuff by qualifying on pole -- and I've been able to do that today.

"This race has got so many variables, none more so than a wide variety of makes and models which all have their strengths and weaknesses.

"I have two experienced guys in the car with me in Theo and James Koundouris so hopefully we can finish it off with a win tomorrow."

Starting second on the grid for tomorrow's once around the clock encounter, which begins at 6:30am, will be the Rondo Building Services BMW 335i driven by Luke Searle, Barry Morcom and Paul Stubber.

Competing in his first race since last year's WPS Bathurst 12 Hour, Searle was delighted to have posted the second fastest time during qualifying.

"This is my first time back in the car in 12 months and so far I feel strong in the BMW," said Searle.

"Against the Mitsubishi Evos it is quite tricky as they are each quicker than the other in different parts of the circuit, but that is what motor racing is all about, being tricky."

Third fastest today was Klark Quinn in the VIP Petfoods Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IV. The diminutive racer is this weekend sharing the driving duties with his father, Tony, and television personality Grant Denyer.

Over the past few years the Quinn father and son pair have become one of Australia's most experienced endurance pairings having competed in the Nurburgring, Dubai and Sepang 24 Hour races along with the previous two WPS Bathurst 12 Hours. However, Klark Quinn rates Mount Panorama right up there with the best circuits in the world.

"There is just something about Mount Panorama," said Quinn.

"It is just the whole thing, you do the drive from the airport and the excitement is building and then you get here and it is always fun.

"Then you get on track - this is easily the best place in Australia to race and there is nothing better than coming down over Skyline and down into The Cutting."

While the WPS Bathurst 12 Hour entries weren't on track, the Shannons Nationals categories of Saloon Cars, Holden HQs, Formula Vees, Improved Production and the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge provided plenty of action for the fans.

Tony Wallis, Lee Forrest and David Skillender were the top three for the round in Improved Production, while South Australian Shaun Jamieson won both races in his Holden Commodore VT to take the provisional round win in Saloon Cars ahead of Steve Kwitakowski and Clint Harvey.

The safety car interupted Holden HQ races were dominated by Queenslander Gary Bonwick who also took the Mercbits King of the Hill overall award ahead of John Wise, while in Formula Vee Ben Porter took the round win over Stephen Butcher and Michael Kinsella.

Twelve hour competitor Tony Quinn took the outright win over Bill Pye and last year's champion Sven Burchartz in the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge.

Tomorrow will see the girl power of the 2009 WPS Bathurst 12 Hour continue to grow this weekend, with a mother and daughter team set to start the big race in a first for Mount Panorama.

Kerry and 17 year old daughter Jade Tunks will unleash the 48 entries for the once around the clock encounter at 6.30am Sunday morning, with Kerry also set to bring out the chequered flag as the field crosses the finish line 12 hours later.

Kerry is no stranger to firsts either, becoming the first female chief starter for Mount Panorama in 2007 when she officiated the 2007 Bathurst 1000, which she also brought to a close with a wave of her chequered flag.

-credit: bathurst12hour.com.au

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Series CAMS
Drivers Steve Owen , Tony Quinn , Klark Quinn , Grant Denyer , James Koundouris , Theo Koundouris , Bill Pye , Luke Searle , Paul Stubber , Sven Burchartz , Clint Harvey , Barry Morcom , Ben Porter