Rossi pips Schumacher in dramatic Bathurst 12 Hour Practice 2

Valentino Rossi was fastest in Practice 2 at the Bathurst 12 Hour. Picture: Ross Gibb

Valentino Rossi was fastest in Practice 2 at the Bathurst 12 Hour. Picture: Ross Gibb

Valentino Rossi has set the pace in his very first session around Mount Panorama amid drama in Practice 2 for the Liqui Moly Bathurst 12 Hour.

The second 40-minute session of the event was set aside for Bronze-ranked drivers although Rossi, whose FIA categorisation is Silver, was given dispensation to get behind the wheel of the Team WRT BMW M4 GT3 which is emblazoned with his famous #46.

After a long period on top for 2022 race winner Kenny Habul, Rossi took over the ascendancy just before the half-hour mark, only to be bettered by Brad Schumacher in his own #55 Audi with the chequered flag out.

However, the seven-time premier class motorcycle world champion was himself still on a flyer, and the 2:05.4486s was good enough to beat the namesake of a seven-time world drivers’ champion by 0.0696s.

CLICK HERE for reaction from Rossi

The session was stopped before it had really begun in unusual circumstances when a red flag was called in the sixth minute in response to the dramas for the #52 MARC II, one of five cars in the Invitational class.

It was seen sitting against circuit direction at The Cutting, with Keith Kassulke behind the wheel according to timing, and then proceeded down the hill before the driver eventually attempted a three-point turn.

With that also proving problematic, in part due to traffic reaching the scene, officials called a red flag, at which point the best time of the three laps which had been completed was a 2:13.9105s for Liam Talbot in the #65 Melbourne Performance Centre Audi which topped Practice 1 courtesy of Chaz Mostert.

When the session went green again, Brad Schumacher (#55 Schumacher Motorsport Audi) immediately clocked a 2:07.9846s, which was bettered next time around by Kenny Habul’s 2:06.9945s in the #75 SunEnergy1 Mercedes-AMG.

Habul backed that up with a 2:06.5671s and 2:06.1350s on consecutive laps, although Schumacher improved enough to only be 0.0043s off the pace just beyond halfway through the 40-minute session.

Rossi joined the ‘six’ club with a 2:06.6928s in the 24th minute of proceedings, then went fastest of all with a 2:05.8873s two laps later.

The #9 Audi after the incident near The Cutting. Picture:

The #9 Audi after the incident near The Cutting. Picture:

There was another red flag in the 30th minute after an incident for Marc Cini which left plenty of debris on the track at the exit of The Cutting, although he was at least able to drive the damaged #9 MPC Audi back to the pits.

The green flag flew again with enough minutes left for drivers to get in two to three fastest laps, although the pointy end of the timing screen had not changed by the time the chequered flag was unfurled.

However, Schumacher then wheeled the Schumacher Motorsport Audi to a 2:05.5182s, after which Rossi nailed the 2:05.4486s.

Habul ended up third on the aforementioned 2:06.1350s, from Talbot on a 2:06.2531s then Yasser Shahin on a 2:07.3206s in the #777 MPC Audi.

Rounding out the top 10 were the #99 Triple Eight Race Engineering Mercedes-AMG, the #10 MPC Audi, the #44 Valmont Racing Mercedes-AMG, the #24 Volante Rosso Motorsport Mercedes-AMG, and the #222 Scott Taylor Motorsport Mercedes-AMG.

Practice 3, another session for Bronze drivers only, starts at 14:00 local time/AEDT.

Results: Practice 2 Bronze drivers

Pos Num Team/Sponsor Driver(s) Car Cls Fastest lap Split
1 46 Team WRT Valentino Rossi BMW M4GT3 PRO 2:05.4486
2 55 FUCHS Lubricants Racing Brad Schumacher Audi R8 LMS Evo 2 PAM 2:05.5182 0:00.0696
3 75 Sun Energy 1 Kenny Habul Mercedes Benz AMG GT PRO 2:06.1350 0:00.6864
4 65 Sportsbet Team MPC Liam Talbot Audi R8 LMS Evo 2 PAM 2:06.2531 0:00.8045
5 777 The Bend Motorsport Park / MPC Yasser Shahin Audi R8 LMS Evo 2 PAM 2:07.3206 0:01.8720
6 99 Boost Mobile Racing Jefri Ibrahim Mercedes Benz AMG GT PAM 2:08.9307 0:03.4821
7 10 MYLAND Team IMS Andrew Fawcett Audi R8 LMS Evo 2 SIL 2:09.3896 0:03.9410
8 44 Valmont Racing M.Zalloua/S.Pires Mercedes Benz AMG GT SIL 2:09.4613 0:04.0127
9 24 Tony Bates Racing /Makita Tony Bates Mercedes-AMG GT3 PAM 2:09.4690 0:04.0204
10 222 Scott Taylor Motorsport Geoff Emery Mercedes Benz AMG GT PAM 2:09.6730 0:04.2244
11 9 Hallmarc Team MPC Marc Cini Audi R8 LMS Evo 2 PAM 2:10.0273 0:04.5787
12 47 Supabarn Team MPC T.Koundouris/J.Koundouris Audi R8 LMS Evo 2 SIL 2:10.3557 0:04.9071
13 4 Grove Racing Stephen Grove Porsche  911 GT3R PAM 2:10.6739 0:05.2253
14 6 Wall Racing G.Denyer/A.Deitz Lamborghini Huracan SIL 2:10.7152 0:05.2666
15 101 Harrolds Volante Rosso M’Sport Ross Poulakis Mercedes Benz AMG GT SIL 2:10.9984 0:05.5498
16 52 Wheels /FX Racing Keith Kassulke MARC II V8 INV 2:12.4727 0:07.0241
17 111 111Racing/MRA Motorsport Grant Donaldson MARC I Mazda INV 2:14.6020 0:09.1534
18 19 Nineteen Corporation Mark Griffith Mercedes Benz INV 2:16.7660 0:11.3174
19 66 Daytona Sports Cars Shane Woodman SIN R1 INV 2:17.2207 0:11.7721
20 50 MMotorsport /Vantage Racing David Crampton KTM GT XBOW INV 2:17.5151 0:12.0665

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