JOHNSON BRAVES THE RAIN FOR BATHURST POLE
Oct 4, 2018
A SIXTH Pole position of the 2018 season will see Steven Johnson start from pole position when the Paynter Dixon Touring Car Masters series races at Mount Panorama, Bathurst, this weekend.
In torrentially wet conditions, Johnson’s 2m49.0505s lap was the slowest ever pole lap at Mount Panorama yet delivered the Team Johnson Mustang driver his 13th career pole, third at Bathurst and an extra five championship points in the process.
Johnson will line up alongside Adam Bressington on the front row, the VDC / Whiteline Racing Camaro driver excelling in the challenging conditions to lap just 0.6s slower than Johnson.
After Johnson’s flyer the margin stood at more than 1.3 seconds before Bressington pushed in the closing stages to narrow the margin.
It was the third time Bressington has qualified on the front row in his TCM career and matches his performance at Mount Panorama last year.
Holden Torana runners make up the second row of the grid – though neither are driven by John Bowe.
Ryan Hansford qualified third in the Multispares Racing entry while Jim Pollicina was a personal-best fourth in his Mocomm Communications car.
The in-form driver edged out Tony Karanfiovski by just 0.1 seconds, while Andrew Fisher was less than one-tenth further back in sixth place.
Torana drivers locked out the fourth row and it’s there where Bowe landed.
With Jason Gomsersall – the only key championship contender to have finished every race this season – qualifying seventh, Bowe could only manage eighth position.
The multiple series champion, who has not qualified on pole since Tasmania earlier this year, reportedly battled steering issues in his Wilson Security Torana during the session and in the wet conditions could do no better than the fourth row of the grid.
It was the first time this year that he has not qualified on the front row of the grid.
Completing the top-10 was an impressive Dean Lillie – back aboard the HQ GTS 350 Monaro – and Whiteline Racing’s Mark King in his Chevrolet Camaro.
Lillie was fast throughout the day, while King survived the session despite contact from Hansford as the pair dropped down through the Esses late in the session, as the Torana tried to work his way past.
Outside the first five rows, Robert Hackwood won the race to row six on his return in the Wellpro Racing Pontiac Firebird, edging out Cameron Mason’s Mustang.
The Tilley family were next: Jamie in 13th, Cameron 14th and Brad 15th.
The trio have the potential to draw well for Saturday’s Dometic Trophy race which will see the first half of the grid reversed, and sent to the back for the four-lap trophy dash.
Unfortunately failing to complete qualifying was Marcus Zukanovic, who impressed in practice but was unable to take part in the later session when his XD Falcon struck power steering issues.
The team is confident of a fix ahead of the first race of the weekend tomorrow.
Jim Richards will start race one from 25th position after taking a cautious approach to qualifying aboard the Shannons Insurance Ford Falcon Sprint.
Race 19 of the 2018 Paynter Dixon Touring Car Masters series will take place at 4:45pm on Friday evening at Mount Panorama.
Saturday will see the Dometic Trophy Race in the morning followed by Race 20 later in the afternoon, ahead of the final race of the weekend on Sunday.
RESULTS - QUALIFYING
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