Geoff Emery and Marco Bonanomi have claimed a record equalling third consecutive pole position ahead of the opening race at Round 3 of the CAMS Australian GT Championship.
Debutante Bonanomi made sterling start to his Australian GT Championship career, topping the first of two 20-minute qualifying sessions.
A damp circuit welcomed drivers onto the Barbagallo circuit, though as it dried during the session a number made the decision to switch to slick Pirelli P-Zero tyres.
Walkinshaw GT3’s Aaron Tebb was the first to make the call, and struggled before conditions saw times begin to tumble.
Bonanomi’s Jamec Pem Audi Sport Customer Racing team followed Tebb’s example with the Italian settings the benchmark time in the dying moments of the session; a 57.885s lap which would prove more than eight tenths faster than stable-mate Barton Mawer.
“I’m very happy,” Bonanomi said. “The car is good and the team is really on it.
“Now we have to see what happens tomorrow.”
Pole position was far from assured following the opening session as conditions began to improve in the build up to the second session, which would have seen lap times plummet.
However heavy rain in the minutes before the second session quickly changed that equation, with only Dean Canto improving his grid position.
The Taplin Real Estate Lamborghini Gallardo ended the second session with the fastest time, the 1:00.395 moving the Canto/Andrew Taplin combination from 19th to 10th.
Barton Mawer and Greg Taylor will join the Bonanomi/Emery combination on the front row, the GT Motorsport pairing continuing their strong recent form.
The Mawer/Taylor combo won the 2015 CAMS Australian GT Championship Trophy Class, and are fresh from two victories at the CAMS Australian GT Trophy Series at Sandown.
It makes for an all-Audi front row, with Justin McMillan and Glen Wood’s Interlloy M Motorsport Lamborghini joined by Klark Quinn’s Darrell Lea McLaren on row two.
Championship leaders James Koundouris and Marcus Marshall will start from seventh place with Walkinshaw GT3 set to make their Australian GT race debut from 11th.
For Emery, pole position sees the Victorian equal the record for most consecutive pole positions in Australian GT history.
The Jamec Pem Audi Sport Customer Racing driver joins an exclusive club of drivers who’ve claimed three pole positions in a row; Jono Lester (2015), Allan Simonsen (2007/08) and Greg Crick (2005/06).
“Three pole positions in a row is great,” Emery said. “The car is really good in the wet. We just seemed to have more grip and could turn it in where everyone else seemed to wash out wide.”
The first 60-minute CAMS Australian GT Championship race of the weekend is set for 12:15 tomorrow, following by Race 2 at 11:25 on Sunday.
Both races will be broadcast live on Foxtel, channel 506.
|1||Marco Bonanomi/Geoff Emery||Jamec Pem Audi Sport Customer Racing||57.885s|
|2||Greg Taylor/Barton Mawer||GT Motorsport||58.708|
|3||Justin McMillan/Glen Wood||Interlloy M Motorsport||59.219|
|4||Klark Quinn||Darrell Lea||59.229|
|5||Jonathon Webb/Matthew Kingsley||McLaren Melbourne||59.489|
|6||Scott Taylor/Craig Baird||Scott Taylor Motorsport||59.581|
|7||James Koundouris/Marcus Marshall||Supabarn Supermarkets||59.681|
|8||Nathan Antunes/Elliot Barbour||Beechwood/SLR/Buildmap||59.809|
|9||Ryal Harris/Scott Hookey||Exotic Track Days||1:00.352|
|10||Andrew Taplin/Dean Canto||Taplin Real Estate||1:00.395|
|11||John Martin/Aaron Tebb||Walkinshaw GT3||1:00.780|
|12||Steve Richards/Max Twigg||BMW Team SRM||1:00.924|
|13||Roger Lago||JBS Australia||1:00.968|
|15||Stephen McLaughlan||Jamec Pem Audi Sport Customer Racing||1:00.996|
|16||Ricky Capo||Modena Engineering||1:01.073|
|17||Tony Walls||Objective Racing||1:01.737|
|18||Tony Quinn||Darrell Lea||1:02.019|
|19||Peter Rullo||Performance West||1:02.055|
|20||Ash Samadi||Bondi Wholefoods||1:03.991|