McLaughlin on front row, all Kiwis prominent for predicted wet Bathurst 1000

Scott McLaughlin withstood the “the toughest and scariest” lap of his young career to earn a spot on the front row of the grid for tomorrow’s Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 at Mt Panorama.

The Volvo driver skilfully managed the slippery and wet conditions in the Top-10 Shootout to finish second, earning a front row start alongside the Bottle-O Ford of David Reynolds.

The pair, along with third fastest Jason Bright, took advantage of the early running before further rain fell in the one-lap sprint as the competitors drove with skill in the super-challenging conditions.

Earlier the New Zealanders did well in today’s shortened 30 minute qualifying session with Fabian Coulthard and Shane van Gisbergen besting the list.

The two Kiwis secured their slick times early in the session before light rain fell, which brought all the drivers back into the pits with 10 minutes remaining. Coulthard topped all drivers in 2:06.133 with van Gisbergen clocking 2:06.441.

McLaughlin was seventh fastest with Andre Heimgartner from Super Black Racing the 12th fastest.

McLaughlin is buoyant about his chances tomorrow.

“It was the toughest and scariest lap of my life – just finding the right speed and the right grip conditions for the lap was hard and braking was so difficult as well. I am thankful I have a clean car and up the front – that is the main thing,” he said.

“Obviously it is going to be changeable conditions tomorrow, very similar to today. Hopefully we are on the right end of things with the luck and we can collect a trophy at the end of the day

“We have no-one in front of us and hopefully I can get a good start off the line and get into a good rhythm. I think as a race car we are stronger so we will see how we go.”

With championship leader Mark Winterbottom starting back in 14th on the ride, and his Prodrive teammate, and second placed, Chaz Mostert out after his crash in practice, there is opportunity for Reynolds and other contenders to make their mark in the biggest race of the year.

The 161-lap, 1000km race starts at 11am local time.

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