2013 BATHURST 1000
Friday's Bathurst 1000 practice sessions produced the usual mix of heartbreak and highlights.
One of the heartbreak stories was steeped in dark irony. Chaz Mostert punched the wall at Reid Park in a Dick Johnson Falcon. The car had been painted in the Green's Tuf livery made famous by team owner Johnson's gigantic accident in 1983.
Mostert's DJR Falcon joined the same list as the Erebus Mercedes of Slade and Thomson, which crashed heavily at Turn 3 on Thursday.
Both the DJR and Erebus machines are expected to make the start on Sunday morning.
Nissan's return to Bathurst after a twenty year absence saw the Norton 360 car of Caruso carry a new number - 300 - to reflect Norton's donation of $300,000 to depression charity BeyondBlue.
Qualifying began at three o'clock, with installation laps and a generally cautious approach.
Whincup's campaign for his fiftieth pole position - and his first Bathurst P1 - was fraught with problems.
He went off at the Chase early on and eighteen minutes in, clipped the wall at the Dipper. He abandoned the lap and returned to the pits, the team fitting a new shock absorber as a precaution, with a quick setup change.
With ten minutes to go, however, he made P1 and stayed there, but has yet to secure the pole position in Saturday's top ten.
The Holden Racing Team's cars struggled early in the session, with Tander warning his team that if the car wasn't sorted, they'd miss the top twenty. Tander finished 11th while teammate Courtney managed fourth.
The final minutes were predictably frantic. Jason Bright jumped to P2, before being displaced by Mark Winterbottom in the FPR. Lowndes was briefly P2 but fell to sixth after his final attempt was ruined by locking rear brakes.
Bright's teammate, Fabian Coulthard, went into qualifying with a fresh engine after trailing the sister car, particularly in straight-line speed. He will start fourteenth on Sunday morning.
The Xbox One wildcard entry of Premat and Mattias Ekstrom will start eighteenth following Ekstrom's 2m9.00 lap. Ekstrom had learnt the track by watching videos, having never driven at Bathurst before.
The first Mercedes was that of Lee Holdsworth in twelfth while the first Nissan was Caruso in seventeenth. The Kelly brothers qualified their Nissans in 23rd and 24th.
The Top Ten Shootout will take place on Saturday at 5pm, with a race start on Sunday at 10:30am.
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