7 Oct 2017

Red flag halts Bathurst practice early

4:22 pm on 7 October 2017

A red flag has prematurely ended final practice ahead of Bathurst 1000 top 10 qualifying at Mount Panorama.

Scott McLaughlin in action at Bathurst

Scott McLaughlin in action at Bathurst Photo: Photosport

The one-hour session was called off with two minutes remaining after Holden's Taz Douglas came off turn one and was beached in the sand.

It robbed drivers not involved in Saturday's top-10 shootout -- some of them Supercars' biggest names -- of vital practice.

Holden cult hero David Reynolds reckoned nothing would matter until Sunday's Great Race with rain predicted for the 161-lap classic.

Reynolds was fastest in Saturday's practice, clocking 2min 04.99sec.

Holden's James Courtney (2:05.03) and defending series champion Shane van Gisbergen (2:05.19) were next best.

Reynolds has been one of the pace setters all week but wasn't getting ahead of himself before Sunday.

"It's probably going to be raining tomorrow so everything changes; this could be three days all for nothing," he said.

Michael Caruso caused the session's first red flag after his Nissan hit the wall off turn one after 20 minutes.

While Reynolds may not be reading too much into results before Sunday, there is clearly one man to beat at Mount Panorama -- Ford's Scott McLaughlin.

The series leader sent an ominous warning when he clocked the fastest Supercars lap at Mount Panorama -- a scorching 2:04.14 -- in Friday's practice.

He obliterated Holden great Jamie Whincup's 2015 mark by 0.76sec.

McLaughlin then fell an agonising 0.08sec shy (2:04.22) of his record mark in Friday's qualifying but still emerged as the favourite come Sunday.

McLaughlin, 24, has a maiden Bathurst title in his sights after topping qualifying ahead of Reynolds (2:04.47) and Ford star Chaz Mostert (2:04.53).

The Bathurst 1000's front grid will be decided by the top-10 shootout.

The shootout will be without some of Supercars' biggest names.

Four-time Bathurst champion Whincup will start 11th after a red flag prematurely ended Friday's qualifying.

The Holden great looked set to break into the top 10 when he came thundering down the mountain with just seconds left in Friday's 40-minute qualifying session.

Then James Moffat hit the wall at The Dipper, ensuring the session ended promptly under the red flag -- and Whincup's last gasp effort didn't count.

Whincup is second in the championship just 84 points behind leader McLaughlin.

Moffat dropped from ninth to 22th on the grid for causing the red flag, ensuring he missed the shootout along with six-time King of the Mountain Craig Lowndes (19th) and defending Bathurst champion Will Davison.