Defending race winner Kenny Habul set the pace across two Bronze driver-focused practice sessions on Friday ahead of this weekend’s Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour.
The SunEnergy1 Racing team owner/driver posted a time of 2:05.309 in the early stages of the second of two 40-minute sessions held either side of midday.
Habul, driving the iconic No. 75 Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo, beat the benchmark set by BMW M Team WRT driver Valentino Rossi, who topped the first of the Bronze driver sessions which counted as Practice 2 overall.
Rossi was given dispensation to drive with the other Bronzes in the field due to his status as a Silver-rated driver who is racing at Mount Panorama Circuit for the first time.
The former MotoGP star only took part in Practice 2, registering a time of 2:05.448 as part of a 14-lap stint in the No. 46 BMW M4 GT3.
That made Rossi the second-fastest driver across the Bronze sessions on aggregate, while Brad Schumacher took third with a 2:05.518 effort set during Practice 2.
Schumacher initially looked to have stolen the Practice 2 top spot from Rossi, but the Italian responded right at the end by a slender 0.069-second margin.
Liam Talbot was the fourth-quickest driver behind the wheel of the No. 65 Melbourne Performance Centre Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo II that paced Practice 1 in the hands of Chaz Mostert.
Practice 2 was briefly red-flagged after Keith Kassulke spun his Wheels/FX Racing MARC II V8 at the Cutting, blocking the track as he turned to face the right way around.
Another stoppage occurred when debris from Marc Cini’s Hallmarc Audi was distributed on track at the mountain section after contact.
There were no red flags or other noteworthy incidents in Practice 3.
The full Bathurst 12H field returns to action in Practice 4, starting at 4:10 p.m. local time.
RESULTS: Practice 2/Practice 3