Age Shall Not Weary Them
Two of the older models in Australian GT Racing have surprised the field in today's qualifying session with the Jeep Dodge Viper of Greg Crick setting pole position for the first of tomorrow's two races.
The Tasmanian driver, who turned 57 yesterday, will sit on the front row courtesy of a blistering lap of 2.10.6809, some 8 tenths faster than the V.I.P. Petfoods Mosler MT900 of Klark Quinn and over a second faster than Championship leader Mark Eddy and his Audi R8 LMS.
"This was our first dry session of the weekend, and to be frank, we hit the sweet spot in the set up, got a clear lap, and I drove really hard to make sure we were competitive," said Crick.
"It's a pretty long race around here tomorrow, so the first aim will simply be to get away well, hopefully have the lead into turn two, and get on with it."
Quinn, who was leading the Championship until the last round at Phillip Island was very pleased with his qualifying result given that the car was suffering an oil surge problem early in the session.
"I know where we are quick and where we aren't compared to Crick and the other boys, so I dare say there may be some late lunges under brakes at some stage in the race."
Current Championship leader Mark Eddy was circumspect about his third place result, and rued the fact he struggled to get a clean lap, but said his car was set up to be very strong at the back end of the race.
"I reckon we will do about 14 laps in tomorrow's race, and we certainly learned some things from our Phillip Island strategy, so the Penfold Audi Sport R8 will be there when it counts."
Peter Hackett in the Mercedes SLS AMG placed fourth while Tony Quinn's Aston Martin was fifth and Kevin Weeks sixth in his beautiful Supaloc Lamborghini Gallardo.
In a stunning return to the Vodka O Australian GT Championship Challenge Class, Mark O'Connor will start from eight outright and pole position in class.
"The car was quick, but I reckon with a bit more time we will go even quicker," said O'Connor.
"The car has been fixed from Winton, and we've had new shocks and brakes fitted and the car feels sensational."
Bundaberg Rum driver Tim Poulton was flying earlier on in the session, in fact so fast, it blew the roof of his car!
"On the odd occasion a mirror might come off, or perhaps even a sticker, but a ROOF ... well ... that's something different," said Poulton.
Challenge Class Championship leader Peter Boylan qualified 11th outright, while Nathan Tinkler, Andrew McPherson, and Indiran Padayachee rounded out of the field.
The session was red flagged early when Ash Samadi turned Andrew McPherson around at Hell corner while Ian Palmer will start from rear of the grid for tomorrow's race after an electrical problem saw the Pilewest/Palmer Steel Industries Dodge Viper remain in the garages during qualifying.
Tomorrow's first race will take place at 8.00am with the flag dropping at 8.30am
The Vodka O Australian GT Championship is a National motor racing series pitting some of the world's most exotic and exciting race cars against each other in a mix of sprint and endurance race formats on some of Australia's most challenging circuits including Mt Panorama Bathurst, the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit and the Adelaide Parklands street circuit for the Clipsal 500
Vodka O Australian GT Championship Qualifying
1. Greg Crick 55.Jeep Dodge Viper GT3 2.10.68092. Klark Quinn 12.V.I.P. Petfoods Mosler MT900 GT3 2.11.56713. Mark Eddy 8.Penfold Audi Sport Audi R8 LMS 2.12.17894. Peter Hackett 63.Team Erebus Racing Mercedes Benz SLS AMG 2.12.27555. Tony Quinn 7.V.I.P. Petfoods Aston Martin DBSR9 2.12.3069GT Challenge Class Pole
1. 3. Mark O'Connor Lotus Exige S 2.20.4022