Whincup: Pole ‘doesn’t mean anything’ at Bathurst
Jamie Whincup has downplayed the importance of his Bathurst pole position, despite the race’s growing reputation as a 1000km sprint.
Whincup completed a commanding race build-up for he and co-driver Paul Dumbrell by edging out Scott McLaughlin in a thrilling Top 10 Shootout.
CLICK HERE for Speedcafe.com’s Top 10 Shootout report.
Tomorrow’s race looms as a golden opportunity for Whincup to score his fifth Bathurst win and take a stride towards a seventh Supercars Championship title.
His team-mate and title rival Shane van Gisbergen has had a comparatively low-key Bathurst week, with the #97 Holden that he shares with Alex Premat to start from seventh.
The track position advantage could prove significant in the race if Safety Cars trigger double-stacking for those behind their team-mates on the road.
“I don’t want to kill the mood or anything, but in reality it’s a lot of hype,” insisted Whincup after his pole lap.
“It’s all good stuff, but it doesn’t mean anything, tomorrow’s the big day. There’s no points for qualifying on pole.”
Whincup did, however, say that he enjoyed his Shootout lap which included a near-miss with the wall at The Dipper and a brush against the concrete on the exit of Forrest’s Elbow.
“The car was very good,” he said.
“I turned into Turn 1 and it gave me massive feedback of ‘we’re on here,’ so I just talked myself into it.
“Going up Mountain Straight I thought I’d have a crack over the top and the car did everything I needed it to.
“It was a little bit slow up and down the hill but certainly good over the top.”
Dumbrell’s preparations for Sunday meanwhile included winning today’s 250km Dunlop Series race for the third consecutive year.
The 34-year-old is searching for his second Bathurst 1000 victory after a series of near-misses for the duo in the last three years.
“It’s been a pretty good week so far,” said Dumbrell.
“We’ve sort of chased the car up and back a few times, (but) it’s been pretty good throughout the whole week.
“So much can change in the race tomorrow, we’ve got to make sure we have a good car for the last half of the race, or the last quarter of the race, versus the first half.
“We can’t win the race in the first hour, or two hours, we can certainly lose it, so we’ve got to make sure we focus on the end game.”
The traditional 20 minute warm-up session will take place from 0805 tomorrow ahead of the race start at 1110.