Walsh fastest in opening Aus GT qualifying

Dan Herrero

Friday 5th May, 2017 - 4:14pm

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The Supabarn Audi

Ash Walsh sits on provisional pole for Round 3 of the Australian GT Championship at Barbagallo Raceway.

Walsh broke the streak of Kelvin van der Linde, who took the first two poles of this season, but is set to share the front row with the South African pending results in Qualifying 2 tomorrow.

Neither of the Audi R8 drivers left the pits immediately, but Walsh made a serious mark on the session when he took his #44 Supabarn entry to the top on his first flyer.

He improved his own benchmark shortly before the halfway mark of the 20-minute qualifying session, and remained there for the duration.

Van der Linde ran a different approach in the #74 Jamec Pem entry, waiting until 10 minutes in to even join the session, hoping to gain an advantage from rubber already laid down.

The factory Audi driver, however, ruined his first flyer when he ran wide at Turn 1, and was only good enough for fourth-fastest on his next two attempts.

Nevertheless, he eventually did enough to grab what will likely remain a front row berth with the lower-ranked drivers to run in their respective cars in Qualifying 2.

Daniel Gaunt made it three Audis in the top three with his early effort in the #124 KFC entry, while West Australian Peter Major put in a strong performance on his home track to be fourth fastest in the #14 Lamborghini R-EX.

Roger Lago (#23 Lamborghini R-EX), Brad Shiels (#51 Lamborghini Huracan), Liam Talbot (#911 Porsche 911), Fraser Ross (#59 McLaren 650S), Steven Richards (#100 BMW M6), and Tony Walls (#11 McLaren 650S), made up the top 10.

There was a clash late in the session between Richards and Tony Quinn at Turn 1.

The latter was exiting pit lane in his McLaren 650S when the former appeared to run wide and make contact, with Quinn unable to get himself off the bottom of the timesheets thereafter.

The starting grid for Race 1 will be finalised with another qualifying session tomorrow at 0840 AWST (1040 AEST).

Results: Qualifying 1

1 Supabarn Supermarkets Ash Walsh Audi R8 LMS 0:55.42
2 Valvoline Kelvin van der Linde Audi R8 LMS 0:55.71 0:00.28
3 Kentucky Fried Chicken Daniel Gaunt (NZ) Audi R8 LMS 0:55.78 0:00.35
4 PM Motorpsort Peter Major (WA) Lamborghini R-EX 0:55.82 0:00.39
5 JBS Australia Roger Lago (QLD) Lamborghini R-EX 0:55.98 0:00.55
6 AMAC Motorsport Brad Shiels (NSW) Lamborghini Huracan 0:56.09 0:00.66
7 MEGA Racing Liam Talbot (QLD) Porsche 911 GT3-R 0:56.33 0:00.90
8 YNA Autosport / McElrea Racing Fraser Ross (VIC) McLaren 650S GT3 0:56.48 0:01.05
9 BMW Team SRM Steve Richards (VIC) BMW M6 GT3 0:56.52 0:01.09
10 Objective Racing Tony Walls (NSW) McLaren 650S GT3 0:56.73 0:01.30
11 WM Waste Management Services Max Twigg (VIC) Mercedes Benz AMG GT 0:56.81 0:01.39
12 Hogs Breath Cafe/Griffith Corp Jake Camilleri Mercedes Benz AMG GT 0:56.82 0:01.39
13 Moveitnet / AFS Tony Bates Mercedes Benz AMG GT 0:56.93 0:01.50
14 GT Motorsport Greg Taylor (NSW) Audi R8 LMS 0:57.10 0:01.67
15 Ah Apartments Ash Samadi (VIC) Audi R8 LMS 0:57.14 0:01.71
16 DJS Racing Danny Stutterd (VIC) BMW M6 GT3 0:57.24 0:01.82
17 Scott Taylor Motorsport Scott Taylor (QLD) Mercedes Benz AMG GT 0:57.54 0:02.11
18 Darrell Lea Tony Quinn (QLD) McLaren 650S GT3 1:01.94 0:06.51