Maro Engel will start Sunday’s Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour from pole after storming to top qualifying honors in the Top 10 Qualifying Shootout at Mount Panorama.
The German driver scored his second Allan Simonsen Pole Award after taking his No. 999 GruppeM Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo to a record-breaking 2:00.881 lap time.
It was 0.216 seconds quicker than the No. 888 Triple Eight Race Engineering Mercedes of Broc Feeney, who initially topped the time charts prior to a series of two consecutive pole-winning laps by Engel.
Engel will share driving duties with Mikael Grenier and Raffaele Marciello in tomorrow’s Intercontinental GT Challenge powered by Pirelli season opener.
He broke the previous track qualifying record held by Shane van Gisbergen from 2016 qualifying by four-tenths of a second.
A late charge by the No. 912 Manthey EMA Porsche 911 GT3 R in the 15-minute session saw Matt Campbell move up to third, ahead of the No. 75 SunEnergy1 Racing Mercedes of Jules Gounon, who was unable to set a top time after suffering an off-course excursion at the Chase early in the session.
The No. 32 Team WRT BMW M4 GT3 of Dries Vanthoor was fifth, some eight-tenths down on Engel’s pole-winning lap.
Chaz Mostert will start sixth in his No. 65 Melbourne Performance Centre Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo II, followed by the sister No. 74 entry of Mattia Drudi.
WRT’s Maxime Martin was eighth in the No. 46 BMW, which includes Valentino Rossi this weekend, with the No. 44 Valmont Racing Mercedes set to start on Silver class pole with the ninth best lap in the shootout.
Dani Juncadella completed the top-ten in the No. 77 Craft-Bamboo Mercedes, meanwhile.
Top 10 Shootout was split up into two 15-minute sessions, with the five quickest aggregated times from qualifying advancing to the second session, with positions six through ten in the first shootout session.
The Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour gets underway Sunday at 5:45 a.m. local time (Saturday, 1:45 p.m. ET) with live coverage on SRO’s GT World YouTube page.
RESULTS: Top 10 Shootout