The SunEnergy1 Mercedes-AMG of Kenny Habul will start from 20th position in tomorrow’s Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12-hour after one of the tightest qualifying sessions in the event’s history.
Just 1.4 seconds separated the top 20 cars for the annual event at Mt Panorama which gets underway at 5.45am tomorrow, local time.
Habul clinched the Intercontinental GT Challenge Bronze Driver’s title at Laguna Seca in California in October and is looking to get his title defence off to a positive start with a solid result.
Habul will share his SunEnergy1 Mercedes-AMG Pro-Am entry with former 12-hour winner Thomas Jaeger and Austria’s Dominik Baumann.
The SunEnergy1 entry ran a time of 2:03.8587 at the hands of Jaeger around the famous 6.21km circuit while the provisional pole time of 2:02.4127 was set by Jake Dennis in an Aston Martin. The same car took the pole in the later top-10 shootout.
The car is being prepared by Scott Taylor Motorsports which is also working with Triple Eight Race Engineering on a sister car for Jamie Whincup, Craig Lowndes and Shane van Gisbergen which qualified 19th with a time of 2:03.4495.
Habul finished second outright in last year’s race in a Mercedes-AMG he shared with Tristan Vautier, Whincup and Raffaele Marciello.
After Bathurst Habul will head to the California 8 Hours at Laguna Seca on March 30, the Total 24 hours of Spa on July 27-28, the Suzuka 10 Hour on August 25 and the new Kyalami 9 Hour in South Africa on November 3.
WHAT KENNY HAD TO SAY……
“I am happy,” said Habul. “There is very little separating the top 20 cars. It is quite amazing how competitive the leading group of cars is this year.
“It really doesn’t mean anything for tomorrow. Thomas (Jaeger) did a good job to get into the threes (2:03.8687).
“We have been battling a little with our car with a bit of understeer, bit of oversteer. We are mostly concerned about the race and just settling in.
“All these 2:02.00s will mean nothing in the race. We are comfortable with where we are at.
“It’s just great to be back at Mt Panorama and hopefully things go to plan tomorrow and we can get a solid result.”