Liam Talbot and Chaz Mostert set the best aggregate time in qualifying to lead the list of 10 entries that made it through to Saturday afternoon’s shootout for the Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour pole.
Talbot and Mostert combined for a two-driver time of 4:08.589 in the No. 65 Coinspot-liveried Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo II run by the Melbourne Performance Centre team.
Their upper hand in preliminary qualifying was established by Talbot, who led the first 25-minute qualifying session for Bronze-rated drivers by three-tenths of a second.
With the second-placed entry being in the Am class, Talbot and Mostert’s advantage over the next-quickest Pro-Am entry — Brad Schumacher’s MPC Audi — stood at almost six-tenths.
Schumacher’s co-driver Kelvin van der Linde ate into some of that substantial deficit by setting the fastest lap of the weekend so far in Q2.
The South African posted a time of 2:02.812 in the No. 74 Audi but Mostert’s effort in the low 2m 3s range was quick enough to keep the Coinspot machine on top.
Yasser Shahin and Ricardo Feller ranked third-quickest, despite Shahin spinning at the exit of Murrays Corner to bring out a red flag in the opening session.
Both qualifying runs were interrupted, with the Pro driver session being temporarily halted in the early stages due to Supercars driver Will Brown beaching his No. 19 Mercedes-AMG at Hell Corner on his first flying lap.
Martin Konrad and Jules Gounon ended up fourth for SunEnergy1 Racing, as the highest-placed Mercedes-AMG duo in qualifying.
They were followed in the times by the Am-class No. 45 Sheargold Motorsport Mercedes-AMG and the Grove Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R.
Another Am entry to reach the shootout was the Valmont Racing Mercedes-AMG in seventh.
Shane van Gisbergen needed to come up with a strong lap time to bring the No. 888 Triple Eight Race Engineering AMG into the shootout places, after his co-driver Prince Jefri Ibraham only managed 12th in the first session.
The list of shootout qualifiers was rounded out by the Wall Racing Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo and the No. 9 Hallmarc Audi run by MPC.
There were no major surprises in qualifying, although two Pro-Am entries failed to make the cut of those that turned laps.
They were the Griffith Mercedes-AMG that Brown drove in Q2, and the No. 24 MPC Audi.
Furthermore, the Team BRM Audi and the Craft-Bamboo Racing Mercedes-AMG were absent due to accident repairs and an engine change, respectively.
The grid positions outside the top 10 were determined by the results of two-driver qualifying, with Brown and Mark Griffith due to start from 11th on the grid.
Pole in the Invitational class went to the M Motorsport KTM X-Bow GT2 which qualified 12th overall in the hands of Dale Wood and Trent Harrison, who ended the Bronze driver session ninth overall ahead of five GT3 cars.
The Top 10 Shootout is due to start at 4:10 p.m. AEST (2:10 a.m. ET).
RESULTS: Qualifying (aggregate)