German upstages Aussies in practice

Team Joest looked strong on the opening day at Bathurst

Team Joest looked strong on the opening day at Bathurst

German Marc Basseng has ended the opening day of practice for this weekend’s Armor All Bathurst 12 Hour with the fastest time.

Basseng lapped the Mount Panorama circuit in 2m11.64s during the afternoon, putting the Team Joest Audi R8 he will share with fellow internationals Chris Mies and Darryl O’Young 0.7s clear of their Australian competition.

The David Wall/Greg Crick/Barton Mawer Porsche GT3 Cup S pipped the second Joest Audi of Craig Lowndes/Warren Luff/Mark Eddy to second fastest.

Running without the parity restrictions that hamper its performance in the Australian GT Championship, the Wilson Security Porsche looks set to be the closest competition for the German squad in Sunday’s race.

Luff’s best effort in the morning session was not bested by Lowndes in the afternoon, with the Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport V8 Supercars driver noting the difficulty of setting lap times in a field separated by almost 40 seconds.

“I didn’t get a clean lap today, there was so much traffic,” said Luff.

“It is a huge challenge for the race negotiating the slower cars – it will make it interesting.

“Craig (Lowndes), Mark Eddy and I feel very lucky to be in the car, in such a professional team with a record in endurance races that is second to none.” he said.

“They are such an easy car to drive, it ran really smoothly. I think it is much easier for us in the Australian car to get used to a different vehicle then it is for our team mates to adapt to a new track in their usual car.”

The Marc Cini/David Reynolds/Dean Fiore and James Koundouris/Theo Koundouris/Steve Owen Cup S Porsches rounded out the top five.

Class B was topped by the GT3 Cup-spec Porsche of Matt Kingsley/Roger Lago/David Russell.

The production classes were headed by the Tony Alford/Peter Leemhuis/Mal Rose Nissan GTR (Class C), the Peter Conroy/Anthony Robson/Mark Brame Mitsubishi Evo X (Class D) and the Chaz Mostert/Ash Walsh/Gerard McLeod HSV VXR (Class E).

Qualifying will be held tomorrow, with $5000 up for grabs for the combination who scores the Armor All Pole award based on the aggregate time of the three drivers in each car, over two one-hour sessions.

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