Have a read of the qualifying results for Sunday’s Supercheap Auto 1000 and you’ll find it’s a 50/50 spread Holden and Ford.
It’s at this point in the series when the cream definitely comes to the top. Both Toll/HSV Commodores and both Stone Brothers Racing Falcons have made the Top Ten, however the real surprise packages are Jim Beam Racing/DJR car 17 piloted by Steven Johnson, Tasman Motorsport’s car 51 with Greg Murphy aboard and Valvoline Cummins Race Team/GRM car 33 driven by Lee Holdsworth. The latter is a genuine and very pleasing surprise, and proves beyond any doubt that young Holdsworth does have what it takes to run with the pack. Kudos to Garry Rogers Motorsport as well, for providing a mount capable of running just 1.1 seconds off the pole pace.
Take a look at position 11 as well. The sister car to car 33, car 34 with Greg Ritter at the wheel. The screen capture which provides the above shot of the 18 fastest cars, I believe, holds the eventual winner on Sunday. In fact, I’d go so far as to exclude anyone from 14 down. P14 happens to be Glenn Seton and as always, he remains the sentimental favourite for a win. Trouble is, a slew of much more fancied runners would have to fall by the way first.
Tomorrow, the weekend begins at midday with the idiot box tuned exclusively to Channel Seven until 5:30pm. We’ll get to see the vision from the practice sessions, race two of the Fujitsu Series round and doubtless the Porsche Cup cars. The V8’s come out for an unofficial 60 minute practice at 10am. I’m blowed if I understand why this practice session between official qualifying and the made-for-television Top Ten runoff is still available. The session never really proves anything and often results in somebody breaking something at the 11th hour, resulting in an all-night rebuild of a race car which winds up lasting half the race at best. Anyway, we’ll doubtless get the see the action as it unfolds. At 3:40pm the Top Ten is run, always a huge drawcard and a much more civilised hour than than my last sojourn on the Mountain. At least by mid-afternoon, Bathurst has warmed up some. When the Top Ten was run at 9:00am on the Saturday, and one had to make sure one arrived at the circuit at least an hour beforehand, getting out of bed by 6:00am in Orange, scrapping the ice off the windscreen before starting the car to let the heater warm up was quite a challenge. Going to the races certainly seems to have become more civilised over the past 25 years.