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Engel gave ‘everything I had’ in drive to Bathurst 12 Hour pole
Saturday 4th February, 2023 - 6:56pm
Maro Engel says he gave “everything I had” in his extremely successful bid to qualifying on pole position at the Liqui Moly Bathurst 12 Hour.
The GruppeM Racing driver had already reset Mount Panorama’s practice/qualifying lap record earlier in the day when he set a 2:01.0536s in Qualifying – Part 2, and came close to doing so again when he clocked a 2:01.0896s midway through his ‘Top Ten Shootout’ run.
While that lap was not perfect, with Engel kicking up a puff of dirt as he exited Murray’s Corner, pole position was effectively secured once fellow Mercedes-AMG steerer Broc Feeney and Porsche driver Matt Campbell eased off in the final minutes of the session.
The German, however, was unaware of that, and continued to search for time.
In something of a surprise, given his first sector was a tenth slower than he had gone on the 2:01.0s lap, Engel became the first driver to lap Mount Panorama in a two-minute-flat in legal BoP trim.
“No [I did not know], I was still pushing everything I had,” he recounted after his 2:00.8819s.
“All I knew was that it was very close between me and Broc.”
Engel has driven for Craft-Bamboo Racing in his previous three visits to Mount Panorama, with his arrival at GruppeM displacing its usual Bathurst qualifier, Raffaele Marciello.
However, the Italian had no qualms about that, in part because he had raced in the LMP2 class in the 24 Hours of Daytona on the previous weekend.
“I mean, we have a good relationship between us; I know him, he’s really strong here normally,” noted Marciello.
“Last week, I was in a ‘P2 so I didn’t feel really comfortable to go and quali.
“Between us, I don’t think there is much difference so we chose him to do quali and it was the right choice because he’s on pole.”
Feeney qualified the #888 Supercheap Auto car second on the grid at 0.2164s off the pace, a performance which drew high praise from Engel and the factory driver in the Triple Eight Race Engineering camp, Maximilian Gotz.
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