Matt Campbell admitted he missed a few apexes in his Pirelli Top 10 Shootout lap, which was still good enough to grab pole for Sunday’s Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour.
The defending race winner claimed Porsche’s first pole at Mount Panorama, taking the No. 911 Absolute Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R to a 2:03.555 lap in a heated and incident-filled Saturday.
As a result Campbell claimed the Allan Simonsen Pole Award, becoming the second Australian in the last three years to do so.
“In qualifying our car was a little bit nervous on entry,” Campbell said.
“Obviously not knowing what conditions were going to do, we left the car the same and actually tried to carry a little bit more speed than we’d like just to generate a little bit of understeer to settle the car down as well.
“For sure it didn’t look like the perfect lap. But inside the car, I’d have to say it was the most stable it’s been.”
The 24-year-old said the Chinese squad “weren’t quite happy” with the car earlier in the weekend but managed to find improvements on Saturday morning, despite the stop-start sessions due to a series of accidents from fellow competitors.
“In qualifying we were able to find the pace with the new tires,” he said. “The speed just came to us straight away.
“Starting on pole, I’ve been trying to go for this pole for a few years now and always managed to stuff it up.
“I’m really happy to get it in the new-generation GT3 R on its debut here.”
Campbell’s new Intercontinental GT Challenge powered by Pirelli co-driver Patrick Pilet hailed the young Australian’s performance this weekend.
“This guy, I can watch all the videos and data, he’s on it,” Pilet said. “He makes a real big different by himself.
“We worked really hard on the car and found something we like. It will be something special for me tomorrow to start my first 12 Hour on pole.
“We have a great team and lineup behind me so I think we have a good chance.”
Jaminet: Race Pace Still a Question Mark
Mathieu Jaminet, who completes the lineup in the No. 911 car, admitted that race pace remains a question mark heading into tomorrow, but said the chance of rain could play to their benefit.
The Frenchman was part of Porsche’s Kyalami 9 Hour-winning lineup, in a race that was marred by heavy thunderstorms.
“That’s still a question mark, to be honest,” Jaminet said. “Let’s see tomorrow and if we try to double stint tires and how it goes.
“It seems like it will be OK, I hope. The race will be different, so we’ll see.
“I hope [the rain] is coming. Maybe it will help us even more towards the end of the race.
“It would shuffle the race a bit towards the end if it’s coming. But we’re prepared and we have a good team behind us.”