FERRARI’S Toni Vilander has denied BMW a fairy tale front-row lockout for tomorrow’s Bathurst 12 Hour, winning the first ever GT Top 10 Shootout at Mt Panorama and giving Maranello Motorsport the Allan Simonsen memorial trophy for the first time.
Vilander claimed pole for Australia’s prestigious endurance event with an incredible 2:02.861s lap in the #88a 488 GT3 he shares with Aussies Craig Lowndes and Jamie Whincup, just 0.194s ahead of Chaz Mostert’s 2:03.055.
Mostert, who teams up with Morgan Haber and Max Twigg in the MARC Cars M6 GT3, deprived factory BMW driver Marco Wittmann a front row start with the Aston Martin of Ashley Walsh the big winner of the shootout format, moving from seventh to fourth.
“The conditions were difficult and hot. It was a good challenge and I really enjoyed it,” Vilander said.
“During the lap, after The Chase I knew what the previous time was and I said “this is mine” and then had a little moment on the last corner so I wasn’t sure if it was enough,” he said.
“It’s not an easy format. There’s a lot of pressure with the shootout. I didn’t feel pressure because of my two teammates, I just felt pressure for the team and I always feel like I have to deliver at any track.”
Paired with a former winner of the 12 Hour, six-time Bathurst 1000 champion Lowndes and a four-time Bathurst 1000 winner in Whincup, Vilander said he’s in a good position ahead of the race and is amazed at how the Supercars drivers have adapted to the GT3 car.
“The thing about the professionals is how calm they are. They gather as much information as possible and when they are in the car they get the job done,” he said.
“Craig has some experience with GT cars, Jamie not so much but their lap times are there.”
Drivers will tuck in for an early night ahead of a 5:45am race start.
Pictures courtesy of Rhys Vandersyde and InSyde Media.