Audi and BMW set the pace at Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour

#22 Audi fastest on Friday
#22 Audi fastest on Friday

AUDI has toppled BMW in the fastest ever Friday at the Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour.

The #22 Valvoline Jamec Pem Racing Audi of Kelvin van der Linde, Garth Tander and Frederic Vervisch were the fastest in the opening day of track action at Mount Panorama as the field gained experience ahead of qualifying tomorrow.

Vervisch set the quickest time of the day, a 2:03.136s flyer, during the fourth practice session.

The No. 22 car had already lapped near the top of the order throughout the earlier sessions in what was a positive start for the brands’ quest for a return Bathurst victory.

Audi won the 12-Hour in 2011 and 2012 however has been unable to return to the top step since.

"Everything is going good. It's difficult to see the real pace of everyone and the second thing is you have to have a clear lap as well," the 31-year-old Belgian driver said.

“Not bad, for a first time for sure better than I expected so it's good to be in front, but you want to be there on Sunday,"

"The car is really nice, we did some improvements from earlier in the day to now and I'm more comfortable and confident, it's really cool. Like everybody describes its really nice."

Vervisch said the No. 22 squad felt like they would be a competitive proposition for the remainder of the weekend.

"I think we have a really strong line-up, we all three are on a really strong pace," he said.

“Obviously it's very nice to have Garth as a team mate he knows the track well, we did a track walk yesterday and he really gave us some good indications which obviously helped today.

"We will see, we still have to decide who will do it [Qualifying], one of us three can do it and obviously we want to keep the car on track, I think that's the main thing.

“For sure top ten would be nice, that's out aim and its always better to start at the front than the rear."

The two fastest combinations on Friday both included a mixture of local and international talent.

The BMW team Schnitzer M6GT3 of Chaz Mostert / Marco Wittman and Augusto Farfus was second fastest overall, just 0.25s behind the leading Audi.

All three of the BMW drivers lapped towards the front of the time sheets during their respective times behind the wheel today.

Returning to Mount Panorama for the first time since Touring Car racing in the 1980s, the famous Schnitzer squad impressed from the outset – especially when Brazilian ace Farfus stormed to the top of the times in practice two during his first serious run at Mount Panorama.

Completing a good day for the Jamec-Pem Audi squad, the sister Audi R8 was third fastest overall today with former winner Christopher Mies, Christopher Haase and Markus Winkelhock splitting the driving duties.

The day was dominated by Audi and BMW with the two brands filling the top five positions in the final session.

Outside of the searing lap times, the biggest story was perhaps the arrival of the Bentley Team M-Sport Continental GT3s t Mount Panorama.

After lengthy shipping delays, the five containers worth of freight – including pit lane equipment for AMG outfit Strakka Racing – was unloaded in Melbourne on Thursday afternoon and trucked the 10 hours to Bathurst.

They arrived at 3:00am Friday morning, with the team on hand to prepare the cars and get them on track for the first practice session just after 8:30am.

Remarkably, the cars lapped on the edge of the top-10 in the later practice sessions, despite the rushed preparation.

Saturday action will include a fifth and final practice session prior to qualifying and the Pirelli Top-10 Shootout, which will be broadcast live on 7mate around Australia.

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