Championship points leader Chaz Mostert has taken pole position for the first of this weekend’s TCR Australia races, having set a lap time of 2:16.077 around the famous Bathurst race track.
The session was halted prematurely however, when Jordan Cox went off the road in sector three. Nevertheless, the Alfa Romeo driver had still done enough to claim the fourth spot on the starting grid at that point, so will be well-placed if the GRM team can get the Giulietta repaired in time for race one.
Other drivers hadn’t quite had the chance to get dialled in though, and as such, there are far more pronounced gaps between each of the drivers’ lap times than we would typically expect from a championship as hotly-contested as this one.
For example, only one driver was able to set a lap time within a second of Mostert’s pace before the red flags were waved. Aaron Cameron will therefore line up alongside the Melbourne Performance racer on the front row of the grid, in second place. Cameron has shown good speed so far this season in the Peugeot, and has often gotten the most impressive launches from a standing start of anyone on the grid. However, despite his eye-catching displays behind the wheel, the results just haven’t come so far in 2021. This will be a great opportunity to change that.
Next up in third place, just over two seconds off the pace for pole, is a driver returning to the series this weekend. Mostert’s MPC team-mate, Garth Tander, was always one to watch behind the wheel of the Audi when he last raced in this series back in 2019. Since then the V8 Supercars legend has kicked off a career as a TV pundit, but if his performances this weekend are anything to go by, that certainly doesn’t mean he’s gone soft.
Behind Cox, Jay Hanson put himself up to fifth on the time sheets in another of the Alfa Romeos. Around three tenths of a second further back, Brad Shiels clocked one of the best qualifying results of his short TCR Australia career, and will line up in sixth place on the grid.
Meanwhile, Lee Holdsworth – the man who conceded the championship points lead to Mostert at Phillip Island – was one of the main drivers to lose out as a result of the premature end to qualifying. Having been quickest of all in free practice two, Holdsworth would have had his eyes set on pole position. Instead, he’ll have to make do with seventh.
The Wall Racing Honda duo of Tony D’Alberto and John Martin were next up in eighth and ninth position respectively, while the third MPC Audi of Luke King rounded out the top ten.
Outside of the top ten, Liam McAdam placed thirteenth on his return to the championship, three positions ahead of championship debutant Duvashen Padayachee, who wound up as the best-placed of the HMO Customer Racing drivers.
Jason Bargwanna, meanwhile, was brought back down to earth after his brilliant victory during the previous event at Phillip Island. The veteran racer will have his work cut out from twentieth on the starting grid.
Almost fittingly, the two drivers who have had the most unlucky campaigns so far this season – Michael Caruso and James Moffat – will lock out the final row of the grid behind Bargwanna. The GRM stablemates were the worst affected by the early end to the session, with neither having been able to set any sort of competitive lap time.
Race one gets underway shortly at 10:40 local time (00:40 BST).