Drivers predicting chaotic Bathurst 12 Hour
The leading contenders at the Liqui-Moly Bathust 12 Hour are expecting erratic lapped traffic and changeable weather to make for a chaotic race on Sunday.
The field completed three 50 minute practice sessions today, with difficulty negotiating the various class cars across the top of the Mountain the most common complaint.
Craig Baird ended the running third fastest in the #33 Clearwater Ferrari he will share with Irishman Matt Griffin and Hong Kong-based Mok Weng Sun, and led the call for more consistent driver etiquette.
“The hardest part of the sessions was just getting a clear lap,” said the experienced New Zealander.
“There’s going to be a lot of Safety Cars in the race. You can see every lap that there’s nearly an accident with a slower car.
“We need to work a bit on driver etiquette. Some of the Europeans are indicating which way they want you to go and some of the locals are indicating which way they’re going to go.
“We need to clarify a few little things like that to make it easier on everyone.”
Second-fastest man Lee Holdsworth was in a jocular mood after Practice 3, but echoed Baird’s sentiments having shadowed the Ferrari while the duo set their fastest laps of the day.
“The hardest thing is getting through the traffic and getting a clear lap,” said Holdsworth, who is sharing the #63 Erebus Mercedes with V8 Supercar team-mate Tim Slade and Erebus GT regular Peter Hackett.
“I was having a bit of fun following Bairdo there for a while. It was good to follow him and see where all his braking markers where. We were flying through the traffic – him belting them out of the way and me following through!”
“In qualifying tomorrow I think it’s purely going to be a luck of the draw as to who gets a clean lap,” added Slade.
“Come Sunday, we’re all pretty capable of running quick around here in all the top cars, so whoever gets through the traffic will come out on top.”
Weather is also likely to throw a curveball at the competitors on Sunday, with the federal bureau currently predicting thunderstorms will hit Bathurst during the afternoon.
“Last year was one of the toughest races I’ve ever done so I hope it stays dry,” said Griffin, who splashed his way to fourth place last year in the Clearwater entry.
“I wouldn’t mind the temperature dropping a few notches though,” he added, noting the 33 degree temperatures experienced in Practice 3.
The first of two qualifying sessions will kick-off at 0745 tomorrow.